Australians died to protect informers - claim

A documentary to be screened next Sunday will air suspicions that British intelligence had advance knowledge of an IRA attack in Holland, in which two Australian tourists died, but failed to stop it.

Stephan Melrose and Nick Spanos were shot dead by an IRA unit, who mistook them for British soldiers, in Roermond 20 years ago. This month the Melrose family visited Holland and Ireland in their quest to find answers about the murders.

Award-winning investigative journalist Ross Coulthart accompanied them and his programme will be screened on Australia’s Channel Seven. It includes a confrontation between the reporter and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

Coulthart said: “Just after the shooting, an Australian source with good links to British intelligence suggested to me that the British had details of the IRA cell operating in Europe, that they had information on its key members, and that they could possibly have stopped the attack. This is supported by ex-British agents we’ve interviewed.”

There is speculation that at least one, and possibly more, members of the IRA team in Europe were informers. Coulthart claimed that information from British intelligence sources also suggested that, at the most senior level, one in two IRA leaders at the time were British agents.

“The question must be asked whether two Australians were sacrificed to protect informants in the IRA,” he said.

We have a favour to ask

We want to keep our publication as available as we can, so we need to ask for your help. Irish Republican News takes time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe it makes a difference. If everyone who reads our website helps fund it, our future would be much more secure.

For as little as £1, you can support Irish Republican News – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

© 2010 Irish Republican News