There have been calls for an internal investigation by the Dublin government after a former British agent revealed that a senior Irish official has been working for British military intelligence for more than three decades.
The allegation has been made by a former agent known by the pseudonym Sam Rosenfeld, who was recruited by British military intelligence. Mr Rosenfeld has admitted he worked for the specialist ‘Force Research Unit’ on both sides of the border during the 1990s.
According to a report in the Irish News, the former agent has revealed that a senior 26 County government figure is a current British military intelligence asset. He also revealed that he has visited the Dublin parliament as a guest of the man, who he refuses to name.
The former Fermanagh-based businessman reveals how his undercover unit had a base at St Angelo Barracks, near Enniskillen.
“I will tell you what they are super, super, super, sensitive about, they have somebody still working, and I am assuming there’s many still working in the Irish Republic, but one of them holds a very senior position in the Irish government,” he said.
Mr Rosenfeld added that he recently “looked and they are now even in a (more) senior position than they were previously and they still work for the British government, ie, the army. So they are still at it.”
He said that he was aware of other agents from his time working undercover in the north and that they have either “moved on, given up....or they have moved into stronger and better positions”.
Mr Rosenfeld said he is unaware of how the agent at the heart of the 26 County government was recruited, but that their involvement is “long term”.
He suggested that while in some cases intelligence recruitments can be short-lived, the Dublin government agent falls into a different category.
“There are times when you have people and you leave people and you don’t bother people and they stay in place and you only have contact every now and again, sometimes these are long term engagements and this person is still there.”
Mr Rosenfeld also revealed that he was often asked to spy on the bases of the 26 County army in the south.
The former military agent said that while Ireland poses no threat to Britain he believes there would be little the British government would not know about the affairs of their Irish counterparts.
He also said British intelligence analysts will be keeping a close eye on future political developments, particularly if Sinn Féin rise to power as current opinion polls indicate.
“I can guarantee you now that they are sitting there in their little war rooms planning out what will happen if Sinn Féin won in the Irish republic,” he said.
“The dynamics of politics in Northern Ireland are shifting....people need to know what would happen if Sinn Féin were to suddenly have a majority vote or whatever in Northern Ireland and how the game would look.
“The British government would have a really, really, really keen interest in what’s going on.”
Mr Rosenfeld has also alleged that the vehicle used by the IRA team that resulted in the 1991 execution of Louth man Tom Oliver as an informer was being tracked by British forces at the time.
Mr Rosenfeld said he has provided a statement to Operation Kenova, which is investigating the role of Crown Forces double agents in the IRA.
Such a high-level agent would have been sanctioned by top British government ministers, who may still be regularly briefed with the information they provide.
There have been calls for the Dublin government to encourage anyone with knowledge of the situation to come forward and to expel British spies from its ranks.
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD urged the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to take action.
“Revelations that British agents are operating in our government buildings in Dublin are extremely concerning and could seriously damage British-Irish relations,” he said.
“The new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, together with the new Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin, need to seriously investigate this matter”.