Special Branch police in the north of Ireland turned down the chance to save the lives of people targeted by unionist paramilitary gunmen because they simply ‘couldn’t be bothered’, according to a UVF commander turned supergrass, Gary Haggarty.
According to the Sunday Life, Haggarty was still “knee-deep” in terror in north Belfast when he offered to hand over the UVF’s`black book’ - containing the names and addresses of those it was actively targeting.
Not only that, the serial killer told investigators the UVF had another book with British Army intelligence files on organisations and ‘persons of interest’.
This was when the loyalist commander turned supergrass was deputy to another infamous UVF double agent, Mark Haddock, the UVF military commander in north Belfast.
Haggarty’s life as a double agent has been detailed in secret interviews the supergrass gave when he fled Ireland after being exposed as an agent.
He offered Special Branch the UVF targeting book but they declined the offer as they would have to inform the people named, according to the report. The information should have led to those threatened being informed and Haggarty “retired” as an agent.
Haggarty said the book was part of a weapons hide in a flat in the Mount Vernon area of Belfast. He said the UVF also had possession of British Army files on organisations and ‘persons of interest’ – lawyers, community development workers, civil servants and Sinn Féin representatives among them.
The loyalist said this highly-sensitive information came from a rival paramilitary group, the UDA. Haggarty said he passed on the location of the weapons hide in Mount Vernon and even handed Special Branch a key, but they failed to intervene.
He also told investigators that inside that dump was the pistol he used to murder innocent grandfather Sean McParland on February 24, 1994 – one of five killings he has admitted. There were also RUC uniforms, ammunition and the UVF’s bomb-making manual.
“He told Special Branch about everything in that flat. Had that been the IRA they would have been right in there, but nothing was done,’’ according to the report.
Haggarty was recruited as a Special Branch informer not long after joining the UVF and lived a life as a paid agent for 12 years. The notorious double agent has admitted five murders and 500 other serious crimes, most of which while he was in the pay of the RUC/PSNI.
Last week, in Haggarty’s evidence, he said the RUC ‘encouraged’ him to shoot loyalists who wouldn’t toe the line within the UVF. He would pass to Special Branch the reason for the attack, the history of the gun, and where the weapon went to next.
He has also revealed an RUC man asked him to shoot someone he had a personal grudge with. The man was either to be shot or have his “arms or legs broken”.
Haggarty returned to Ireland two weeks ago, his first visit in 14 years after being unmasked as an informer along with Haddock.
Now given a new identity and life in England, he was the witness in the trial of a man he claims shot Catholic workmen Eamon Fox and Gary Convie at a building site in north Belfast in May 1994.