Injunction sought to end MI5 harassment
Injunction sought to end MI5 harassment

A west Belfast taxi driver has begun legal moves to stop repeated approaches by MI5 agents.


Christopher Catney has instructed his lawyer to explore seeking a High Court injunction amid serial harassment by British state forces.

Contact was originally made during a holiday in Spain and on his return to Belfast International Airport.

Mr Catney, the nephew of former IRA Volunteer Tony Catney, said he fears others in his community will suspect him of being an informer. He stressed that he has no links to any political group or organisation, and attributed the alleged targeting to his family name.

In a statement prepared as an initial stage in the legal process, Mr Catney said he has come under increased attention from MI5 and the PSNI. Members of the Crown Forces called at his ex-partner’s home looking for him, and unmarked cars followed his taxi, he said.

The level of attention increased following an approach by MI5 agents while on holiday last November. Two men identified themselves as members of the British security services, saying they wanted to speak to him.

His lawyer raised concerns about the incident with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in Madrid and Dublin. However, the same agents approached him again on arrival back in Belfast after he was taken into a room to have luggage searched.

MI5 representatives appeared again after he was involved in a road traffic collision in December, telling him they wanted to be “friends” and to “work together”.

Earlier this month, he said, a man with a recognisable voice phoned, introduced himself as “Jim from Gran Canaria” and asked to talk to him. Emphasising his clear record and lack of any affiliations, Mr Catney added: “The only rationale I can find is that I am the nephew of veteran republican Tony Catney.”

His uncle was jailed for his role in the conflict in the 1970s and later acted as Sinn Fein’s head of elections before becoming involved with rival republican groups. He died in August 2014 following a battle with cancer.

Complaints have been lodged with the Police Ombudsman, and with an Investigatory Powers Tribunal in a bid to have the approaches scrutinised.

“I am afraid that people in my community will start to think I am some sort of informant because of the PSNI-MI5 contact I have been experiencing,” he said.

“This could be seriously life threatening in the sort of society we live in.”

His lawyer, Ciaran Mulholland, confirmed he has been instructed to explore High Court proceedings aimed at securing an injunction against MI5.

“It appears that Mr Catney is being harassed by MI5,” Mr Mulholland said “I find the repeated approaches and contact from individuals, suspected to be that of British Security Services agents, extremely concerning.

“Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, and other clients have complained of their movements being hindered at airports.”

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