A prisoner support organisation has said they have passed on a recording of a conservation in which a member of British military intelligence attempted to extract information about recently released remand prisoner Carl Reilly.
The incident took place on the morning of Tuesday 29th August. A representative of Cogus, which is linked to the Republican Network for Unity, was contacted via mobile telephone by an unknown caller who then claimed to be an MI5 operative named ‘John’.
‘John’ referred to the Cogus representative in their first name and immediately began to enquire about the internal workings of Cogus. He proceeded to ask about the “current thinking” of Mr Reilly (pictured). The Cogus representative declined to engage in any conversation and ended the call abruptly.
Cogus said that the conversation had been recorded and the recording passed to Mr Reilly and his legal team.
The west Belfast republican was bailed in July of this year on strict conditions after spending two years held behind bars without trial.
His arrest was carried out by gardai police at the Carrickdale Hotel near Dundalk, Co Louth, in January 2014. The 41-year-old was the chairman of Republican Network for Unity at the time.
He has denied the allegations of IRA membership and “directing terrorism”.
Those who carried out the surveillance operation and gathered the evidence later acknowledged that it was of poor quality and largely circumstantial.
Mr Reilly’s lengthy detention has been described by the RNU as “selective”, “political”, and “internment by remand”. His co-accused received bail a short time later, but Mr Reilly was denied bail on several occasions.
A spokesperson for Cogus, a republican prisoners support group, described the approach to the organisation as “sinister”.
Speaking about the case recently, Cogus spokesperson and RNU National Public Relations Officer Nathan Stuart said the only purpose of the “directing terrorism” charge was to ensure Mr Reilly suffered a lengthy detention.
“It is worth noting that it was An Garda Siochana who gathered the evidence on Carl and they sought to pursue the case in the 26 county jurisdiction but due to the poor quality of the evidence they decided the case wouldn’t go anywhere, so attempting to salvage something they handed the evidence over to the PSNI, safe in the knowledge they would secure a lengthy period of remand from it and pursue the case all way due to their overarching political agenda.
“Both forces continue to uphold partition, but have found a common cause to work together; the persecution of republican activists.
“The lengthy remand period, concocted by the Gardai, the PSNI, MI5 and implemented by the judiciary stands in direct contrast to genuine justice. Before the trial has started, Carl has spent a significant period behind bars. There is no doubt that this was the original intention behind the security operation.”
He said that Mr Reilly had a young family who are also suffering from the uncertainty, supposition and extreme delays in progressing the case.
“The entire operation was carried out to create a political rupture and add to the process of stifling an alternative republican voice emerging in Ireland.
“A complicit and jaundiced media attempted to lay the groundwork for this particular case of selective detention as they printed lies, misrepresentation and innuendo in order to influence the wider public and make an easy job for the State to pursue their political agenda at the expense of a hard-working community activist and the innocent family.”