GAA man in fear over MI5 harassment

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A well-known figure in Gaelic sports in the North says he fears for his life after MI5 pursued him to become an informer.

Kevin Collins played senior hurling for Derry and won an All-Ireland junior championship with Antrim in the early 2000s. He describes himself as a republican and says he is a former member of Saoradh but is no longer involved with any political organisation.

In 2016 his name was on an email containing names and addresses of republicans ‘lost’ by PSNI in Ballymoney, County Antrim.

He said he had to cut short a holiday to Tenerife last week after he was confronted by two men he believes were members of British military intelligence.

Mr Collins has been approached by the same two men on two previous occasions while on foreign holidays over the past 12 months. He believes they are also responsible for a series of text messages and threatening phone calls.

On one occasion he was told his father would be shot and that they would kill his ex-wife in front of his three children.

The 41-year-old said he was asked to go to the reception of his hotel on the second day of his holiday and was approached by two men with English accents.

“They cornered me at the top of the stairs and I thought they were going to push me,” he told the Irish News. “They said ‘We really need to speak to you this time Kevin because this is your last chance to comply with us and work for us’.”

Mr Collins said he feared for his safety and decided to return home that day.

He was also detained by Spanish police at an airport in Majorca last June and brought to a room at gunpoint where the two men were waiting. He said he was asked to “infiltrate” the Republican Movement.

The men had a quantity of cash in front of them on a desk and he said that he had to “wrestle” his way out of the room. A similar incident took place at Malaga Airport last September but he refused to enter the room.

Mr Collins said the men are “asking me to join an organisation to become an informer”.

“I would rather die before I would turn informer or be an informer,” he said. He believes he was offered cash due to a recent relationship break-up and financial troubles, and that he may be seen as an “easy target”.

“This is putting me under mental stress,” he said. “I fear for my life or they are going to set me up.”

His lawyer Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said: “It’s hugely intimidating and worse still it puts lives at risk. We are supporting Kevin at a time of increased pressure - we will lodge complaints and issue proceedings immediately.”

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