” They offered me money and said they could help with my mortgage and help get me to Australia.
THE nephew of a prominent Co Tyrone republican has said he has been left ” terrified ” after attempts were made to rrecruit him as an informer while he worked in England. Emmet McElhatton, of Kildress, near Cookstown in Co Tyrone, has said he will never return to England to work again after claiming he was approached by MI5/MI6 officers four times in the space of a week last month.
The 21-year-old is a nephew off well known republican Kevin Murphy. Mr McElhatton said he had been approached in London on March 18 by a man and woman as he walked to a shop the day after arriving in the city to start work as a plumber. The Tyrone man said that during a series of attempts to recruit him MI5/MI6 officers had mentioned his uncle and also the republican ex-prisoner Damien McLaughlin whose early.release licence was revoked last month by Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.” They offered me money and said they could help me with my mortage and help get me to Australia,” Mr McElhatton said. ” I told him I wasn’t interested.” Mr McElhatton said that a day later he had received two calls to his mobile phone from people he beleived were MI5/MI6 officers. ” They had Northern accents but I think they were MI5/MI6,” he said. ” He rang me on the phone twice and again offered me money. ” I was walking through the house with the phone and he told me to come to the door so he was obviously watching me. ” This scared me and it meant I couldn’t even go out of the house to the shop. ” Work is scarce and I went out there to earn a living but now I can’t go back.”
Mr McElhatton said that when returning home from England on March 27, officials at Belfast International Airport had stopped him and ” pushed ” him into a room where he was meet by two men – one of whom had previously approched him in England. ” I kept asking could I leave and they said ‘ no’, he said. ” They were very rash and angry and used a lot of bad language. ” They offered me money and they said they could help me get to Australia. ” At one stage my phone in my pocket went off and I turned it off. ” One of the men demanded my phone and when I wouldn’t give it to him he twisted my arm behind my back. ” In the end they said : ‘ Are you willing to help us ?’ ” I said ‘ no ‘ and one of them said : ‘ The next time you see us we will be wearing forensic suits ‘. ” It was really frighting.” Mr McElhatton said he beleived he was being tergeted because of his relative. ” I am not politically involved in anything,” he said. ” I think I am being targeted because of my family background. ” The whole experience was terrifying, knowing I am being watched, my phone calls tracked and being followed.” Mr McElhatton’s solicitor Peter Corrigan said they would sue MI5/MI6 under the European Convention on Human Rights. ” We will be taking action against MI5/MI6 for an invasion of his privacy under article 8 of the European Convention,” he said. ” They were disturbing him while he went about his bussiness and work in London. This is improper policing.” Ulster Unionist Policing Board member Ross Hussey said attempts to recruit informers were legitimate in a bid to prevent dissident republicans taking lives. ” We have a severe dissident threat and that is visible to everybody. I understand people being approached,” he said.
With many thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.
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