Allowing The British Police To Spy In Ireland

Mick Hall @ Organized Rage claims that:

Irish police allowed Mark Kennedy a British police officer with a less than savoury reputation to spy on its own citizens.

Mark Kennedy after he became a private security consultant

The Irish edition of the Sunday Times revealed Martin Callinan, the former Garda (police) commissioner refused to deny he gave permission for a UK undercover police officer Mark Kennedy to spy on and infiltrate environmental and protest groups in Ireland.

Kennedy, along with other members of the Metropolitan police's Public Order Intelligence Unit, are now at the centre of the UK's Pickford inquiry. Which is looking into the role of undercover policing after it became public knowledge these officers were embedded with dead children’s identities within environmental and left-wing groups and in the process to establish their deep cover many of them had intimate and sexual relationships with female members or supporters of these groups. Some even had children with their victims and when their undercover secondment ended they upped and left without a word, leaving families in crises and turmoil.

Kennedy under the name Mark Stone also acted as an agent provocateur within the UK, Ireland and elsewhere.

According to the Sunday Times:

In Ireland this report on Mark Kennedy has been kept secret for six years on state security grounds, it was finally been released after The Times took the Department of Justice to the Information Commissioner for refusing to grant a freedom of information request to release it:

Its publication reveals that the gardaí defended having a relationship with international police forces that allowed spies to work here and defended keeping such arrangements a secret from the government.

As Gardaí knew that Mr Kennedy was in Ireland on a number of occasions under his alias Mark Stone between 2004 and 2006, they must also have know he was spying on perfectly legal groups. If true it's hardly surprising they kept government ministers in the dark as there seems to be an unwritten code within Ireland and the UK which enables senior ministers to see the product, but not how it was obtained. Thus if it all goes pear shaped there are no government minister's finger prints all over it.

The ST piece continued:

After it emerged in 2011 that Mr Kennedy had been in Ireland, the government asked Mr Callinan for a report on Mr Kennedy’s activities in Ireland. The report was never published. A request by The Times to access it under freedom of information law was refused. Last month the Information Commissioner ruled that the Department of Justice should release the document, which was given to this newspaper this week.

“I am aware of suggestions in the media that Mr Kennedy was here with the consent of An Garda Síochána and that there was a relationship between him and the gardaí,” Mr Callinan wrote in the report on March 23, 2011. He did not deny that Mr Kennedy had been operating with the consent of the force but went on to tell ministers that it might be “helpful” to explain the background of using undercover agents from other jurisdictions.
“The use of such agents/police officers from other jurisdictions is a recognised and necessary tactic in the special circumstances where external activists with a track record of violence and whose identities are unknown to local police seek to shape and control violent protest actions,” Mr Calllinan wrote.

Never mind the main external activist in Ireland at that time, with a track record of violence was Mark Stone an undercover police officer from the UK.

Calllinan then claimed:

The right of gardaí to enter into such arrangements was “vital” for national security interests, and he refused to tell the government if the national police force had a confidential arrangement with the Metropolitan Police allowing undercover British officers to work here.

A spokesman for Frances Fitzgerald, the justice minister and Tánaiste, the deputy prime minister of the Republic of Ireland and the second-most senior officer in the Government of Ireland, said that she had sought a second report on undercover British police from Ms O’Sullivan the current Garda Síochána commissioner but had not asked for clarification on whether Mr Kennedy had been working with Irish police.

“In seeking that report, the tánaiste did not seek to circumscribe in any way the information which the garda commissioner would provide. The tánaiste will fully consider the report when it is available, including the issue of whether it may be suitable for publication,” the spokesman said.

Lynn Boylan, the Sinn Féin MEP, said it was “essential” that the second report clarify who, if anyone, in the gardaí sanctioned Mr Kennedy’s presence:

The minister for justice and the gardaí have deliberately tried to prevent information coming into the public domain on what they did and did not know about the activities of British police spies in Ireland ... I welcome the fact that the report from 2011 has finally been released but it is imperative that Ms Fitzgerald make public the supplementary report that she commissioned in October.

While in Ireland Kennedy joined protests against President Bush’s visit to Ireland for an EU-US summit in 2004, and the Shell to Sea campaign in Co Mayo in 2006. He also attended protests at Shannon airport over extrajudicial rendition flights. Presumably he passed his reports to his masters in London, who may or may not have passed this info to the 26 county government of Ireland. [and Royal Dutch Shell] There lays the conundrum because if the information was sent to Dublin as you would expect, I am not sure how Irish government ministers can continue to deny they had no knowledge of Kennedy presence in Ireland.

There have been widespread criticism of Scotland Yard’s decision to use undercover agents to spy on environmental activists. The Metropolitan Police formally apologised last year after revelations that officers had deceived women with whom they had sexual relationships. Although inexplicably they still refuse to tell these women their abusers real names.

Mr Kennedy’s activities in Ireland were first highlighted in the Dáil by Michael D Higgins the current President of Ireland when he was a LP TD.

In a statement a spokesperson for the Labour Party said:

Brendan Howlin, the Labour Party leader, reiterates his previous call for the tánaiste to give an account to the Dáil as to whether, in one of the most politically contentious, divisive and expensive operations to police an environmental protest in this state, the Garda Síochána sanctioned and relied on undercover agents from Scotland Yard. If the tánaiste can’t give an adequate report about this to the Dáil and the public, the Labour Party believes the Policing Authority should pursue the matter.

To have allowed a British undercover police officer, and one with such a shady history running loose across Ireland beggars belief. The more so when at the time he was in the country campaigns against two of the most contentious issues were at boiling point, The Shell to Sea campaign and the US military's use of Shannon airport as a stop over to carry out extrajudicial rendition

Given Kennedy's history it is difficult not to conclude his presence in Ireland was clearly designed to further inflame these situations.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

8 comments to ''Allowing The British Police To Spy In Ireland"

  1. Natural born spy that bloke, one eye looking at you the other one looking for you. No balaclava could possibly disguise him I'm afraid.

  2. Larry,

    Not as bad as the UVF bloke in Belfast in the 70's, held up a bar with a balaclava on shouting 'UVF -Do you who I am??"

    Everybody pissed themselves laughing....not many dwarfs in the UVF back then!!

  3. Steve R talk about LOL that is very funny.

  4. A sole bad apple in an otherwise progressive police service. (Shhh dont mention the Littlejohns!)

  5. Steve R

    In the interest of truth and reconciliation and as a fellow dwarf, maybe I could fess-up and claim that robbery as a false fleg attack....? Could get the lads sentence quashed, seems to be in vogue these days.

  6. The Littlejohns!

    Theres a blast from the past wonder what happened to them?

  7. Larry,

    Ah sure he only got a 'short' sentence anyway!!

  8. Steve R

    Perhaps so but looking at the Armani criminals on the Hill it guts me to see any foot-soldier from either camp with a blotted copy book at the behest of whores.


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