Sinn Fein assembly member Francie Molloy has rejected as “rubbish” a claim that he has been working as a Special Branch informer for almost 30 years.
Speaking in the House of Commons in London today [Wednesday], DUP MP David Simpson used parliamentary privilege to name Mr Molloy and to make a number of controversial claims.
One such claim linked Mr Molloy to the death of Eric Lutton, a member of the RUC police and a cousin of Mr Simpson, who was shot by the IRA on May 1st, 1979.
The MP for Upper Bann, also alleged that Mr Molloy was well known to police for “sexual indiscretions” and had been consequently recruited as an informer.
He accused the Mid Ulster Assembly member of a “callous disregard for the lives of his neighbours” and said he was speaking out to “ensure that a story that needs to be told is told”.
Mr Simpson said Mr Molloy had been protected from prosecution because he had passed crucial information to the PSNI/RUC Special Branch which helped them “break open” the IRA’s east Tyrone brigade.
Mr Simpson declared: “Prior to Molloy’s recruitment, the East Tyrone Brigade had been virtually impregnable. After it they suffered setbacks taking direct hits and losing personnel.”
“Any right-thinking person would wish to welcome the fact that the police in Northern Ireland were able to run agents against the IRA but in this instance, even though Molloy was an informer, it is also true that during that time innocent people were attacked, injured and murdered and Molloy said or did nothing to prevent it. He was less than a willing informer.
“While he gave over enough information to help compromise the IRA in east Tyrone, the question still lingers as to whether he gave everything he knew.
“Any good that Molloy may have done acting as an informer against the IRA and helping to compromise the east Tyrone Brigade was more than cancelled out by this callous disregard for the lives of his neighbours.
“Today, Francie Molloy is deputy speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly. He is also the Sinn Fein spokesman on victims. If ever anyone was wholly unsuitable for a such a position on victims, it’s Francie Molloy.”
By making his claims at Westminster, Mr Simpson is protected from any possible legal action by Mr Molloy, who accused the MP of abusing parliamentary privilege.
Mr Molloy urged Mr Simpson to repeat the highly controversial allegations at a location which could allow him to seek legal redress.
“Unionist death squads in the past never stopped me going about my work representing Sinn Fein and the people who elect me. A unionist MP standing up in the British House of Commons will not succeed in this either,” Mr Molloy said.
“Like his fellow unionist MPs, I have no doubt David Simpson, being a coward, will not repeat these allegations outside of Westminster. Given this history I would expect all of us, the media included, to approach this latest stunt with extreme caution.”
Also this week, the family of self-confessed ‘super-spy’ Denis Donaldson have made complaints to the 26-County Garda police Ombudsman and Garda Complaints Board over the investigation into his murder.
Mr Donaldson, a senior Sinn Fein official who dramatically admitted having been a paid British agent in December 2005, died from gunshot wounds four months later at an isolated cottage at Doochary, County Donegal. It has since been revealed that the cottage was under surveillance by both the Garda Special Branch and British Crown forces at the time he was killed.
Speaking after the inquest, which was adjourned until next May, Ciaran Shiels, of law firm Madden and Finucane, said the family had concerns over a number of issues including the failure to adequately warn Mr Donaldson about the threat to his life.
“This is contrary to what an Taoiseach Bertie Ahern assured the Dail the day after his murder on Wednesday April 5 2006 when he said that warnings had been given to him. The family has serious issues with that,” he said.
TThe family has also requested confirmation of information given by members of the murder investigation team to the press that Donaldson’s cottage was under electronic surveillance.
“Clarification has been sought on that but it has not been forthcoming from the murder investigation team.”
AGENT’S COVER ‘BLOWN’
Meanwhile, a British agent working within the UDA fled his Carrickfergus home last week, fearful that his cover as a double agent within the south-east Antrim faction of the paramilitary group was about to be blown.
McDowell, who has been in police Special Branch custody since Monday, told his handlers about a bizarre plot being hatched by the breakaway group.
The former spokesman for the south-east Antrim UDA told Special Branch the gang were planning to target members of the nationalist SDLP party -- in the belief the attacks would be attributed to their rivals in the mainstream UDA.