Boylan Demands Public Inquiry into British Undercover Policing in Ireland
Following the announcement today that the Scottish Government is to carry out their own inquiry into British Met undercover policing, Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan has called for Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to also carry out an inquiry into their activities on the island of Ireland.
Speaking in Dublin today, Ms Boylan said
“We know for sure that at least one undercover police officer, Mark Kennedy, visited Ireland on a number of occasions and infiltrated a number of campaign groups including Shell to Sea and ShannonWatch. It is also believed that he embarked on a sexual relationship with at least one female activist.
“In 2015, Theresa May launched an Inquiry into the British Met Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) amid concerns around the behaviour of these undercover police. Over 50 convictions have been overturned in England and it has also emerged that engaging in long term sexual relationships with women activists was not unusual for these undercover police and in some cases they have even had children with the women.
“Prime Minister May has refused point blank to extend the inquiry outside of England and Wales and, as a result, the Scottish government have now decided to carry out their own investigation.
“The fact that undercover British Met officers were operating on the island of Ireland and spying on legitimate, democratic campaign groups and organisations is deeply concerning. There are so many questions that need to be answered.
“Did the Fianna Fáil Minister for Justice at the time, Dermot Ahern sanction their activities? If not, why did he fail to demand answers of his British counterpart as the German Bundestag did?
“How many of these undercover police were operating in Ireland? Why is the British Met refusing to release the full list of groups targeted in Ireland? Are there any convictions of activists in Ireland as a result of the activities of these individuals?
“Only a full and comprehensive public inquiry would be able to establish these facts.
“Minister Frances Fitzgerald has a duty of care to the victims of these undercover police, particularly the female victims who were sexually exploited by their actions. It is simply not good enough for the Minister to shrug her shoulders; she should establish a public inquiry immediately.”