Taoiseach must demand collusion summit with Tony Blair following murder attempt on senior UVF Special Branch agent
Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, whose office was the target of a UVF bomb attack in March 1997, which is believed to have been the work of Special Branch agent Mark Haddock among others, today demanded that the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern call a special summit meeting with Tony Blair on collusion. Deputy Ó Caolain further demanded that the Taoiseach ensure that the British Prime Minister commits to making individuals within his system available to all investigations of collusion.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "It has been widely accepted for some time that the attempt to bomb the Sinn Féin office in Monaghan in March 1997 was the work of Mark Haddock and at least one other paid British Special Branch Agent from the same Mount Vernon UVF gang. This was last week confirmed publicly by former RUC CID member Trevor McIlwrath on BBC television. Mr McIlwrath also confirmed that both the RUC Special Branch and the CID had advance knowledge of the plan. It has yet to be established whether or not the Gardaí were given this information by the RUC.
"Following Tuesday's murder attempt on Mark Haddock and the long running pattern of Special Branch agents being killed before the full truth surrounding their activities emerges, it is crucial that the Irish government now take this issue seriously and raise with Tony Blair the issue of British Special Branch agents operating within the 26 counties.
"The attack on the Sinn Féin office in Monaghan is but one example of what was clearly a murder attempt sanctioned and directed by elements of the RUC Special Branch. The sort of wide-ranging investigation required cannot simply be left to the Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan to carry out. Indeed many of those former members of Special Branch have simply refused to co-operate with the Ombudsman safe in the knowledge that she does not at this time have the power to compel them to do so. Hiding behind the Police Ombudsman investigation is an abdication by the Department of Justice of its responsibilities.
"The Irish government needs to grasp this issue. It is my belief that given the nature of Britain's role in the murder of citizens in this state and their refusal to co-operate with the investigations by Justice Henry Barron, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern needs to demand of Tony Blair that a special summit meeting on collusion take place. The British Prime Minister should give commitments to hold to account those within the British system who controlled and directed loyalist gangs and to make them available for scrutiny in order to establish the full extent of their activities within this state." ENDS