MI5, Special Branch orchestrating arrests - Murphy
MI5, Special Branch orchestrating arrests - Murphy

Colm Murphy, whose conviction in regard to the 1998 Omagh bomb was overturned and who was subsequently cleared of criminal charges, has accused an alleged British agent of attempting to frame both himself and his son.

Dermot Declan Gregory, also known as Michael Dermot, is standing trial at Belfast Crown Court in a gun-running case in which MI5 witnesses are giving evidence in an Irish court for the first time in decades.

It is claimed that Gregory -- who apparently believed he had immunity from prosecution -- had been working alongside another agent, a man known as ‘White Paw’, who had been working for intelligence agencies in the 26 Counties.

Mr Murphy said that Gregory had written a full account or his spying activities in his own handwriting and agreed to give a press conference outlining the details.

Another man said to be involved in the plot is believed to have fled Dublin and is currently in a witness protection programme in Britain. He is said to have fled Ireland after becoming nervous that his cover had been blown following the Real IRA murder of one of its own members, Kieran Doherty, in Derry in February.

Mr Murphy said Gregory had not only been acting as a spy but had been involved in orchestrating activity by the Real IRA in order to get more money from his handlers.

“In the run up to my retrial Gregory was actively trying to implicate me in some sort of activity to scupper the court case,” Murphy said.

“He has admitted this. He was ready to go public before he was pulled back into Maghaberry.”

Gregory is currently being held in an isolated unit at Maghaberry for his own protection. Murphy says a lorry packed with material to build a huge explosive device, found under a flyover in Newry in December. was the work of Mr Gregory.

In the letter said by Murphy to be Gregory’s confession, the author admits that he had been paid up to 4,000 pounds a time for information provided to his MI5 handlers.

“They don’t tell MI5 everything, they don’t trust each other,” he writes of the 26-County spy agencies.

“Information is pooled into London and analysed, same with [Garda police Special Branch] in the south.”

The author also says that 15,000 pounds had been paid to release his prosecution file so that evidence implicating him in dissident activity could “go missing”.

When the agent’s handlers started putting pressure on him to provide more detailed information, the letter writer claims that he and the second agent made up false information to make themselves more valuable to the intelligence agencies.

The letter writer told his handlers that Conan Murphy, Colm Murphy’s 23-year-old son, was a “big shaker” and seemed to be “flavour of the month.”

Conan Murphy was arrested in Dundalk last week and charged in connection with an alleged bomb-making factory.

His father said he and a friend, Barney McKevitt, were making poteen and not a bomb.

No explosives were discovered but detectives claimed that a trailer and cans removed from the scene were component parts of a “substantial explosive” device.

Mr Murphy said that his son was not making a bomb but brewing poteen.

“Conan is being set up because he’s my son,” he said. “How can you be charged with possession of explosives when there were no explosives?

“The entire thing was a set-up. The gardai that arrived at the scene had the media in tow with them.”

Mr McKevitt required medical treatment after the raid and appeared in court with a bandaged arm.

Shortly after the raid, the 26 County justice minister Dermot Ahern, who also lives in Dundalk, praised the actions of the Garda, claiming lives had been saved as a result of the raid.

“lt was all orchestrated from start to finish,” said Murphy.

“Anyone who wants can go and look in that shed and you’Il see there’s a still in there. The only thing that was getting made in there was poteen.

“Both Conan and Barney were given a bad beating after they were handcuffed and on the ground.

“My son’s a healthy big lad and so is in better shape than Barney who got a terrible kicking.”

“If this was a so-called bomb factory why have their been no followup searches?

“Why aren’t the Garda searching the countryside for the explosives lor this so-called bomb?

“They knew there was never any bomb.

“This is all designed to make it appear as if there is republican activity in this area, to justify the actions of the Branch.

“There have been dirty tricks at play in this area for months now and this raid is all just part of that.”

The letter writer also admits to having played a role in the setting up of south Armagh man Turlough McAllister, son of former Sinn Fein councillor Jim McAllister.

In February McAllister was jailed for 12 years for possession of explosives.

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