SPYING SHOWS BRITISH BAD FAITH
An elaborate bugging device found at the home of one of Gerry
Adams's staff has all but capsized preparations for crucial
talks set for England later this month.
The party's chief negotiator in the ongoing talks process,
Martin McGuinness, today pointed out that British Direct Ruler
Paul Murphy would have authorised the bugging operation and
demanded a full statement.
The listening equipment was found in the loft area of a home in
west Belfast. Workmen discovered the device after being called
out by a woman who works at Mr Adams' constituency offices.
Throughout the conflict in the North of Ireland, spying devices
have been discovered in homes and vehicles used by Irish
Republicans. During the negotiations leading up to the 1998 Good
Friday Agreement, spying devices were found in a car frequently
used by Sinn Fein leaders.
However, the device found recently was described as much more
elaborate than other such devices, consisting of ten separate
pieces of equipment which filled the roof-space of the house.
It was connected to a small microphone built into the living
room ceiling of the house.
Following the tenth anniversary of the IRA ceasefire,
republicans said the find provided proof that the British
government was not committed to any peace process.
Mr McGuinness said today: "This is a serious breach of faith by
the British government and I believe that it comes directly from
within the Northern Ireland Office.
"I have to presume that it was authorised by the 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."
With a critical new bid to salvage the Good Friday Agreement
still reeling from a sectarian outburst by a defiant DUP leader
Ian Paisley last week, Mr McGuinness warned that the development
could have serious repercussions for intensive talks later this
"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," the Mid Ulster MP said.
"Clearly this NIO spying operation on Sinn Fein 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.
"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."
The British government has predictably refused to comment on the