Omagh agent targeted

An informer who helped the Garda and RUC police forces to plan, track and co-ordinate the 1998 Omagh propaganda atrocity has escaped serious injury following a targeted ‘Real IRA’ attack.

A booby trap pipe bomb which exploded at the home of Paddy Dixon in Navan, County Meath last week has been claimed the breakaway IRA group. Local media reports said he was hospitalised with superficial injuries.

At one time, it is understood Dixon was providing Garda ‘Special Branch’ police with information on nine different ‘Real IRA’ operations.

Most controversially, Dixon provided a car, fitted with spy equipment, which was used by the state forces to track a bomb in the politically volatile months following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Closely monitored to its destination by the RUC police, the bomb detonated without the RUC acting on telephoned bomb warnings. The resulting explosion in the centre of Omagh caused the deaths of 29 innocent civilians, mostly Catholic. One of the worst atrocities in the history of the conflict, the ensuing public outrage was directed at the Real IRA, which was forced to declare a ceasefire.

A stinging and highly publicised report by former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan three years later found ‘failures’ in the ensuing PSNI ‘investigation’, as well as a profound disinterest by British officials in any information Dixon might hold in relation to the bomb plan.

The report fuelled the belief in recent years that the RUC allowed the deadly attack to proceed to suit a secret policing or military agenda. Calls by victims of the atrocity for a public inquiry have been repeatedly rejected.

After living for years at a location known only to London’s Metropolitan police, Dixon was detained by British Customs and Excise officers in July, when he was found with “a large amount of cash” on him, before being released.

He has never been questioned by the PSNI in regard to the Omagh atrocity, although the force has repeatedly claimed he is wanted for questioning.

He had been living quietly in Ireland for four years before he was the victim of last week’s RIRA attack.

Reports said he received several cuts to his hands and face after the blast showered him with shards of glass. He is currently under armed protection by the 26 County Garda police at an undisclosed location.

In a statement published in tabloid newspapers, which could not be independently verified, the ‘Real IRA’ said that they intended to kill Dixon as well as other informers.

“Dixon was an informer and he passed on information to gardai,” it said. “We want to send a message out that if you are an informer we will get you.

“It is 12 years since this emerged and his life remains in danger.”

“He was a known informer. He had been in and out of the country for the last number of years.

“We thought the best option was to blow him up to send out a message to all other informers that you will be killed. He is very lucky he is still alive.”

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© 2011 Irish Republican News