IRA ‘set up INLA man for arrest’

Seventeen people, including 11 British soldiers, were killed in 1982 Droppin’ Well bomb attack carried out by the INLA

“[Martin McGuinness] detested the INLA for their arrogance and disregard for their ‘republican principles”’ – Willie Carlin 

Willie Carlin was an MI5 and FRU British agent

THE Provisional IRA set up a senior INLA man for arrest, former British intelligence agent Willie Carlin has claimed. In a new book about his secret life as a spy within Sinn Féin, the former MI5 and FRU agent claims that ex-INLA boss Patrick Shotter was arrested after a tip-off from the IRA in Derry. Shorter, who was known as Derek, was convicted for his part in the Droppin’ Well bomb attack in Ballykelly on December 6th 1982 in which 17 people, including 11 British soldiers and six civilians, were killed. The security forces launched a huge manhunt after the attack. Which also left Mr Carlin’s cousin, Priscilla White, among those critically injured. Mr Carlin claims that in the days and weeks after the explosion Shorter went on the run to Donegal. He said he passed on Shotter’s name to his handler, who he said was already aware of his alleged role.

Ex-INLA boss Patrick Shotter who was known as Derek. Was convicted for his part in the Droppin’ Well bomb attack on December 6th 1982

He also claims that the IRA were trying to find the INLA man. In the book Mr Carlin claims that senior Sinn Féin figure Martin McGuinness “detested the INLA for their arrogance and disregard for their ‘republican principles”’. He reveals how he overheard a telephone conversation between Shotter and his estranged wife Dolly, arranging to meet during a visit by him to her house. In 1974 she had lost a leg and her father-in-law was killed by an IRA booby-trap bomb left in a bin at their home which was intended for British soldiers.

INLA volunteers giving a show of strength on the streets of Belfast

The following day Mr Carlin waited for the INLA man to emerge from Mrs Shotter’s house and followed him to a city centre club before tipping off the IRA. He said he later returned to the bar to see Martin McGuinness and another man going inside, followed shortly after by four others. He then left the area and rang his handler to brief him. It later emerged that the wanted man had not been arrested at the club and Mr Carlin claims that his handler later said: “It wasn’t easy, to lift Shotter there and then would have ment having to lift McGuinness as well.” He said a handler later told him that two IRA men had followed Shotter from the club to a safe house where he was staying in the Shantallow area before moving to another one the following day.

INLA volunteers preparing for show of strength the Officer in Command (OC) is the one in the red mask

“Those IRA volunteers passed that information on to the Provisional OC in the Bogside, and within an hour another volunteer was given ‘permission’ to tip off the RUC/PSNI as to Shotter’s whereabouts,” he wrote. “It was this call that led to his arrest.” Mr Carlin claims such an order would have had to come from a senior republican. “For the IRA in Derry to give permission for a volunteer to tip off the RUC/PSNI as to the whereabouts of senior republican was a first,” he wrote.

INLA volunteers in full marching forum marching in sequence TAL32

“You could describe it as treachery from within the ‘republican family’, and so radical and dangerous was it for the IRA in Derry to sanction such an action it could only have come from McGuinness himself.” He suggests a certain logic would have applied to any such decision. “His reasoning, however, was understandable,” he wrote. “Because Shotter and his team in Derry was causing havoc, attempting the most impossible attack, this was endangering civilian life and giving the security forces the excuse to step up raids on all republicans.” He claims that when the INLA carried out attacks in Derry “the IRA was in the dark and the subsequent raids often caught them and the entire movement on the hop”. “The INLA in Derry had always been a thorn in McGuinness’s side for that very reason,” he wrote.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story 

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