BELFAST JOURNALIST REJECTS 'SPY' CLAIM
The editor of North Belfast News, Sean Mag Uidhir, has rejected
allegations said to have been made by a British agent known as Kevin
Fulton who has claimed that Mag Uidhir acted as an informer.
The republican former prisoner angrily dismissed the allegations as
"complete rubbish" and said that his lawyer would be issuing
against the tabloid newspapers that have carried the claims.
Fulton is currently in dispute with his spymasters in the British
Ministry of Defence and has threatened on a number of occasions to
reveal the identity of other agents if he does not receive the payment
and resettlement package he feels he is due.
An anonymous message appeared on a US-based website claimed that Fulton
had named Mag Uidhir. The claim was immediately carried in a number of
newspapers, leading to suspicion that the claim had been planted on
In May, Fulton was identified as the source behind claims that another
Belfast man was the semi-mythical 'Stakeknife', the British Army's most
senior mole at the heart of the IRA.
Mag Uidhir is well-known in republican circles, and has spoken at US
events on the subject of internet activism.
He described Fulton as "a self-confessed liar" and dismissed
accusation as "totally scurrilous". Mag Uidhir said he was "very
at being dragged into this" and accused Fulton of "putting myself
my family at risk".
The allegations have been greeted with deep scepticism in Belfast and
North Belfast parish priest Fr Aiden Troy slammed the murky world of
informers for allowing faceless agents to make unfounded allegations.
"I know Sean very well and my sympathy goes out to his family and
friends at what must be a terrible time," said Fr Troy.
Andersonstown News Group editor Mairtin O Muilleoir, of which North
Belfast News is a part, said the paper would be throwing all its
resources behind Sean Mag Uidhir in whatever steps he deems necessary
to vindicate his reputation.
Local Sinn Fein Councillor Gerard Brophy insisted money was Fulton's
motive. "Fulton is embroiled in a row with the MoD over cash and
will stop at nothing to line his own pockets, including claiming honest
men as British agents," said Brophy.
Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty said the allegations were "the
latest in what is a British securocrat strategy of misinformation aimed
at damaging the republican constituency and undermining the peace
"Mr Mag Uidhir has categorically refuted these allegations, which
from the same people who killed Pat Finucane, who armed the loyalist
death squads, who continue to target ands gather intelligence, who at
the most sensitive points in the peace in the peace process maliciously
brief and leak misinformation to create crises and bolter
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the media had a responsibility to
stand up for individuals and the British government had a
responsibility to take control of their own securocrats, spooks and
spies and those who spin in order to cause confusion and
"There is nothing I can think of more insulting, dangerous or more
annoying for an Irish person, never mind a republican or a nationalist,
than to be accused of acting as a spy for British Intelligence,"
the Sinn Fein president.
"I know Sean Mag Uidhir as an outstanding champion of the Irish
language and as someone who has done great work for the community
through his role as the editor of the North Belfast News."
MINISTER DODGES JUDICIAL REVIEW
Meanwhile, the attempt to have British Security Minister Jane Kennedy
face courtroom questions over the alleged 'exposure' of another British
spy was thrown out by Judge Carswell on Tuesday 6 August at Belfast
An application for discovery of British government documents about
newspaper allegations that West Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci was the
British Army's top spy in the IRA was also dismissed.
Scappaticci has already been granted leave to apply for a judicial
review of Kennedy's refusal to confirm he was not and army agent.
Barrister for Scappaticci, Neil Fox, said it appeared a government
department dealing with security matters -- called the 'D' notice
committee -- had written to certain newspapers advising them to publish
the 'Stakeknife' story.
Fox said one editor had confirmed receiving government advice and acted
"Editors would have been aware that publication of Scappaticci's
would have placed his life in great danger and if there was advice that
it was safe to go ahead and publish his name then it's clear there was
government involvement," said Fox.
It emerged on Friday that Mr Scappaticci has been provided with general
security measures - but was turned down for the key person's scheme,
which would have given him a police guard.
The British government's refusal to confirm that Mr Scappaticci was not
an agent had put him in danger and was a denial of his right to life
under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights, the court
"The government has failed to substantiate in any meaningful way
to respond to Mr Scappaticci would endanger intelligence or put
anyone's life at risk," he added.
But Mr Declan Morgan QC, for the Northern Ireland Office, claimed the
British government's policy of neither confirming or denying the status
of agents was in the interests of national security.
The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Robert Carswell, said the issue was one of
having to weigh up the risk to Mr Scappaticci if the minister stayed
silent against the risk to other agents if the policy was breached.
He adjourned to consider his decision which he said would be made
public as soon as possible.