Ladder of informer recruitment bids
Ladder of informer recruitment bids


A County Derry man has said that PSNI men offered to “get rid” of assault charges if he agreed to become an informer.

Maghera man Mark McCusker said he was also asked to provide information about the chairman of a nationalist residents’ group while attending Antrim PSNI station.

Rasharkin Residents’ Collective opposes loyal order parades through the nationalist village. Its chair, Sean Hanna, was the subject of a previous attempt to recruit him to provide information about the residents’ group he leads and another organisation, the 1916 Societies.

Mr McCusker, whose uncle Fergal McCusker was shot dead by loyalists in Maghera in January 1998, attended Antrim PSNI station with his lawyer to be questioned about an alleged assault. He was standing at the custody desk after he was interviewed when he was approached by a uniformed policeman who said two other officers wanted to speak with him.

He was taken to a back room where two plainclothes policemen identified themselves as “intelligence officers”.

It is believed the officers may be attached to the PSNI’s C3 intelligence unit - formerly known as Special Branch. Mr McCusker said he was quizzed about his involvement with the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association - which provides support to republican prisoners.

“I told them this was perfectly legal and I was not doing anything illegal,” he said. “They offered me cash and I said I was not going there. “I refused and they said they could get rid of my charges”.

Mr McCusker said he was then asked questions about the residents’ spokesman. “They asked ‘do you know Sean Hanna’ and I said ‘no’ - I do know him but it was none of their business. “He (the PSNI man) stood up and was angry and said ‘you are lying, you have been seen on camera at meetings’ - IRPWA meetings.”

Mr McCusker, who described the encounter as “frightening”, said the men claimed they were protecting him from security force attention. He said the encounter ended when he refused to answer any further questions.

Mr Hanna said he believes the PSNI men who approached Mr McCusker are the same officers who tried to recruit him. Lawyer Michael Brentnall, who represents both men, said he will be referring the matter to the Police Ombudsman’s office.


Meanwhile, a member of a republican political party has found a listening device embedded in a pair of slippers. The married man from County Down, who did not want to be named, discovered the small device powered by a watch-style battery in the fabric of the slippers.

When he pulled the sole of the shoe apart he found wires threaded around the slipper with what appeared to be a listening antenna attached. The man, a member of Republican Network for Unity (RNU), destroyed the slippers but told the Belfast-based Irish News he fears that other personal items in his home may also have been bugged.

He said he believes members of the intelligence agencies may have gained access to his house while he was not at home to remove personal items, including his slippers, before replacing them once they had been fitted with hidden listening equipment.

In June this year an RNU member from Lurgan found a listening device with a GPS tracker attached to a battery pack and a transmitter hidden behind his car’s rear bumper. Two months earlier the man had been approached by members of British intelligence while he was at the airport waiting to go on a family holiday. He said he was then asked to provide information on other members of the party.

Carl Reilly of RNU said the latest incident was a breach of privacy. “This man is a member of a perfectly legitimate political party engaged in lawful political and community activity and yet his privacy and that of his family have been invaded,” he said.

“Where is the accountability we hear so much about when here we have MI5 operating in the north, entering people’s home and invading the personal space and privacy of a family with impunity?”

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