Spy device linked to SAS ambush

A Crown force spying device has been discovered at a house used by IRA Volunteer Sean O’Farrell, who died in an SAS ambush in 1992.

Sinn Fein said the bug was found in the roof-space of a house in Coalisland during renovation work. The heavy listening device device, with a large battery pack, appears similar to another device found secreted inside a roof beam at Connolly House, Sinn Fein’s Belfast headquarters, in 2004.

“There was a bug found. The house would have been used by Sean,” a Sinn Fein spokesman confirmed.

Sean O’Farrell was one of four IRA men gunned down while on active service by undercover SAS soldiers at Clonoe, County Tyrone in February 1992.

The discovery of the device appears to confirm that the killings had been planned, as had been suspected at the time. It is thought that the device allowed the SAS to plan the ambush at St Patrick’s Church in Clonoe, where the men would disarm following an attack against the heavily-fortified RUC barracks in the town of Coalisland.

At the time, local people described the firing going on for at least ten minutes, with no shots returned by the IRA. An IRA Volunteer who attempted to surrender was picked off by SAS fire.

The execution of the IRA Volunteers took place shortly after British Prime Minister John Major had held a meeting with unionist and SDLP leaders.

The unionists claimed afterwards there would be a “crackdown” and some “unpleasant surprises” in store for the IRA.

After the executions, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams challenged the SDLP leader John Hume to explain if the ambush was one of their promised surprises.

The four who died were Kevin Barry O’Donnell (21), Peter Clancy (also 21), Patrick Vincent (20) and Sean O’Farrell (22).

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