THE daughter of a former top republican revealed this week how her heart was “broken” on learning her family friend was an MI5 agent.
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Aisling Hardy, daughter of the late dissident chief Tony ‘TC’ Catney, posted on Facebook after learning that Dennis McFadden was in protective custody (follow the link above to read the Facebook message). She said: “My daddy was the bravest man I have ever and will ever know. He was my best friend, my heart. “No one will ever compare in strength and loyalty. “To hear someone he welcomed, treated as family and respected has been a liar has broken my heart and faith in humans.” Catney, who passed away in 2014, was one of McFadden’s closest friends. The high-ranking republican was jailed in 1974 at the age of 16 for murdering Maurice Knowles (17) from Rathcoole on the shores of Belfast Lough. He was released in 1990 and became Sinn Féin’s head of elections. In the years leading up to his death, he had moved away from the mainstream republican movement over a disagreement with the Shame Féin strategy. He is said to have “vouched” for McFadden in republican circles.
McFadden is understood to have moved to the North of Ireland over 10 years ago. He had business interests in Belfast and Spain. He is believed to have moved in many republican circles, and had some involvement with Shame Féin members in the Glens of Antrim, before moving to dissident causes. He was heavily involved in the Celtic fan scene and holidayed with many dissidents during his time here. Before joining Saoradh and being appointed as resource officer, McFadden had attempted to join republican socialist political group Éirígí. His application was denied along with Catney and another republican. Sources said that decision was solely down to “egos” within Éirígí. And another top republican hit out at McFadden’s role in a human rights group.
McFadden managed social media pages, websites and press statements of ‘Justice Watch Ireland’, set up by Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four in 2013 to “protect the human rights and the civil liberties of all the people throughout Ireland”. But Rick O’Rawe, a former republican prisoner, said allegations a founding member of the ‘Justice Watch Ireland’ group is a suspected security force spy, would have greatly disappointed Conlon, who died in 2014. Mr O’Rawe, who wrote a book on his close pal’s life said: “Gerry wouldn’t have been at all pleased that the justice organisation which he was affiliated with had been infiltrated by anyone. “He didn’t want any part of this game of paramilitarism or security force infiltration. McFadden was listed as secretary of the company from 2014, until it was dissolved in 2016. His name appears alongside the respected miscarriage of justice campaigner, and a number of other company directors.
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The Sunday World understands McFadden also managed and controlled much of the group’s online presence and recorded and edited videos of conferences and talks, uploading them to social media and YouTube. A profile in his name on the business site LinkedIn records his job as ‘operations manager’ for the group. It can also be revealed that the Scottish-born dad – who served as a police cadet in Glasgow – ran a high profile campaign on behalf of republicans. Sources say he helped manage the ‘Justice for the Craigavon Two’ campaign group surrounding the convictions of two men convicted over the CIRA murder of a police officer. PSNI/RUC Constable Stephen Carroll was shot dead on March 9, 2009 in the Lismore Manor area of Craigavon as he responded to a 999 call. Brendan McConville (42) and 22-year-old John Paul Wootton were later sentenced to 25 and 14 years in jail for the murder, a conviction which was upheld on appeal in 2014.
McFadden is said to have “controlled” a campaign claiming both men were wrongly convicted. According to sources, he was “in charge” of the Justice for the Craigavon Two’s website, Facebook page and media. A number of YouTube accounts in McFadden’s name also show various videos and talks and conferences held on the case. Despite being involved in public talks with both Justice Watch Ireland and Justice for the Craigavon Two, he does not appear in any photos or videos alongside other members. One poster for a Justice Watch Ireland event, held in a Derry hotel in 2013, lists McFadden on a speaker line up on “human rights and civil liberties abuses”. “He told us he liked staying behind the camera, that he was the photographer,” one source said.
With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Patricia Devlin for the original story