Two members of Saoradh have said they were harassed by the British military intelligence to turn informer when returning from a conference in Britain, while Republican Sinn Féin said they are bringing a similar case to the Police Ombudsman.
National Executive member, Paddy Gallagher, and Saoradh member, Pete Cavanagh, both based in Derry, attended an Ireland-Palestine solidarity event in Bristol, England recently. Mr Gallagher, Saoradh’s national press officer, said he was subjected to an MI5 recruitment approach when attempting to travel back to Ireland after the conference.
In a statement, Saoradh said Mr Gallagher was taken to a small box room in Bristol Airport where “a male and female aged in their 50s with English accents awaited”.
“They claimed to be working for British Military Intelligence and stated that Paddy could ‘help them out with information about Derry’.
The two MI5 agents made references to people and to events that have taken place in Derry, and spoke about the conference that both Saoradh members attended the previous evening.
After Mr Gallagher made clear he was leaving the room, the British spies ominously said that they would be “seeing Paddy soon”.
Meanwhile, a member of Republican Sinn Féin in Derry was approached by MI5 Agents during a ‘stop and search’ operation and offered £500.
“The MI5 agents asked him to inform on local republicans and in return they would arrange a house for him as well as helping him regain custody of his children,” RSF said in a statement.
“He refused, and as they left £500 as well as a phone number was left on his car seat by a member of the RUC/PSNI. He contacted his solicitor today about the incident and shall be going to the Police Ombudsman as well as local papers over the weekend.”
Despite the peace process, hundreds of cases of sinister approaches by MI5 to Irish citizens continue to be documented without generating any significant media interest or political concern.
Republican Sinn Féin said they were “the same MI5 agents who are complicit in the cover up of state collision and other crimes committed by British forces over the last 40/50 years.
“Today they are allowed to freely operate across the Occupied Six Counties along with the RUC/PSNI who are supported by former republicans Provisional Sinn Féin.
“We would advise anyone who has been approached to contact Sinn Féin Poblachtach and if possible record or photograph the incident.”