Irish Republican News · September 14, 2012
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Failed attempt to recruit Newry man


Covert undercover British operatives are actively spying on eirigi’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney, it has emerged.

A neighbour of Mr Murney’s came forward to eirigi to make it known that he had been approached by plain clothed security force personnel who tried to recruit him to work for them in gathering information on Stephen.

The approach began weeks ago, when the victim, a family man, had to attend a PSNI barracks over a family matter, during which he had to provide his name and address.

Shortly afterwards the man had an early morning visit to his home by the PSNI, accompanied by plain clothed personnel, who didn’t identify themselves. They claimed to be investigating a burglary in a nearby cul-de-sac -- but rather than make enquiries about the alleged burglary, they pressed the man to answer a number of unrelated personal questions.

These questions immediately raised suspicions and the victim asked if they would also be calling to the rest of the houses in the street. They said they would, but after leaving his house, they immediately got into their vehicles and drove off.

It later emerged that there was no burglary as stated by the PSNI, and that his was the only house visited in the street.

“It now seems this was an initial attempt to ‘suss out’ the individual before the next step in the process, which took place a few weeks later,” said eirigi, in a statement.

It said the man was walking down Hill Street in Newry when he was approached by a plain-clothed individual, who was aware of his previous interaction with the PSNI.

This unidentified individual then began questioning the victim about Mr Murney, who lives close to him. The target was asked if he had any information that he would like to pass on and quizzed about Murney’s activities -- before being finally being asked to spy on the prominent activist and gather information for them.

He refused -- but the agent then menacingly made it known that he knew the victim had been speaking to Murney in a city centre establishment a few weeks beforehand.

“This would further confirm that the eirigi activist has already been placed under surveillance by state forces,” said eirigi’s Runai Ginearalta, Breandan Mac Cionnaith.

“Stephen’s neighbour is to be commended for coming forward and making it known that these shadowy forces, unsuccessfully, attempted to pressurise him into gathering information on a member of an open political party.

“I have spoken with the man to whom these approaches were made and it’s clear that he was clearly unsettled by this whole episode.

“Stephen Murney is openly and actively engaged in legitimate political activities and in helping the community in Derrybeg and other parts of Newry. Like all members of our party, Stephen has nothing to hide. These cowardly sinister forces on the other hand are working in the shadows under cover and out of sight to target him and others.”

Mr Mac Cionnaith said the approach had been recorded with the Committee on the Administration of Justice [CAJ] and the victim’s legal representatives.

“I would urge anyone who is approached in this manner, regardless of whether the approach is made by PSNI, MI5 operatives or both, to come forward and expose their ominous activities.”

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© 2012 Irish Republican News