In the preface to his new book, Stakeknife’s Dirty War, Richard O’Rawe says he had a nodding acquaintance with Freddie Scappaticci when the two men were both IRA internees exercising around the perimeters of their respective ‘cages’ inside Long Kesh jail in the 1970s.
The biographer knew his subject, the man now widely identified as the British army’s ‘golden egg’ inside the IRA, with the codename Stakeknife, but is quick to clarify that “I didn’t know him very well”. “Aren’t I the lucky man, that I didn’t know him better than that?” O’Rawe muses with a chuckle. “There’s some people in life you would love to have had a drink with and while away the hours. But not Scappaticci. If we’d ended up talking at a bar about IRA stuff, then I wonder what he would have reported back? So I’m delighted I barely knew him.”
That lack of personal rapport makes Stakeknife’s Dirty War a very different project for O’Rawe from his previous biography In The Name of the Son . . .
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