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McGuinness believes that Paul Murphy is involved in spy operation

7 September, 2004

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP has said that he believes that the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy directly authorised the intelligence gathering operation uncovered yesterday at the home of a Sinn Féin member. Mr McGuinness has demanded that the British Secretary of State make a full statement on the matter.

Mr McGuinness said:

" I have just returned from London this morning. We were there as part of ongoing efforts to see a package agreed which would see the re-establishment of the political institutions and the resolution of all of the other outstanding Good Friday Agreement matters.

" Sinn Féin has all along been approaching these discussions in a positive and constructive manner.

" While we were in London yesterday a sophisticated bugging device was found in the home of a member of Gerry Adams staff. Gerry Adams yesterday raised this very serious turn of events with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair People should not underestimate the effects of this.

" This is a serious breach of faith by the British government and I believe that it comes directly from within the NIO. I have to presume that it was authorised by the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy in his role as head of the NIO and rest assured I will be raising this directly with him. The 'no comment' approach by the NIO will not wash.

" Clearly this NIO spying operation on Sinn Féin raises very serious issues and very serious questions about the continuing negative role being played by the NIO securocrats at the heart of the British system. The British Prime Minister Tony Blair needs to tackle head on those within the NIO who are hostile to the peace process and hostile to republican involvement in it." ENDS

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