THE suspected leadership of the ‘New IRA’ was bugged at two meetings and had an MI5 agent in its ranks, The Irish News has learned (pictured below).
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Some of the North of Ireland’s most prominent republicans were last night being questioned by detectives for the fourth night with the expectation that serious charges will follow.
Those arrests include:
■ Kevin Barry Murphy from Coalisland, once described as the leader of the Real IRA in East Tyrone.
■ Damien McLaughlin, also from Co Tryone, who was cleared in 2018 of charges linked to the murder of prison officer David Black.
■ Co Armagh woman Mandy Duffy, a chairperson of the New IRA’s political wing Saoradh and a sister-in-law of veteran republican Colin Duffy.
■ David Jordan, sentenced to seven years in 2010 for dissident activity in the Republic.
■ His wife Sharon Jordan, formerly Rafferty, who was one of a gang of four jailed in 2014 for a string of offences including the setting up of a training camp at Formil Wood on the outskirts of Omagh, Co Tryone.
■ Shea Reynolds from Lurgan, the youngest of the nine. He was previously charged with being part of a terror plot targeting a retired PSNI/RUC officer.
■ Gary Hayden from Derry, convicted last year of taking part in an illegal parade organised by Saoradh in the Creggan estate in 2018.
■ Saoradh Derry chairman Joe Barr, also convicted of taking part in the 2018 parade.
■ Paddy McDaid from Derry, who in 2013 was given a 16-month suspended jail term after being convicted of managing a meeting in support of a organisation.
It is also understood that a man not originally from the North of Ireland going by the name of Dennis McFadden (pictured above) a double agent and MI5 informer but who was often seen in the company of senior republicans has left his Belfast home.
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Operation targeting the ‘IRA’ bugged meetings in ‘Operation Arbacia’
A MAJOR surveillance operation targeting the ‘IRA’ involved the bugging of two meetings earlier this year.
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It is understood the meetings were held at separate locations in Co Tryone and that both audio and video evidence has been gathered. Ciarán Shiels, of Madden and Finucane Solicitors, who represents one of those arrested last night said it is alleged that the chief of staff and chairman of the ‘IRA’, which is sometimes referred to as the New IRA, addressed members of the organisation’s executive at both meetings. Mr Shiels said that around 500 PSNI/RUC officers were involved in the operation which has secured 36 hours of recordings. The solicitor said an emerging issue centres on the possible activity of a British agent.
The seven men and two women were arrested in early morning raids in Derry, Tyrone and Armagh on Thursday as part of operation police have called Arbacia. It is understood the operation was conducted in cooperation with MI5. On Wednesday police were granted an extra 72 hours to question the nine, who range in age from 26 to 50. Properties in Dublin, Laois, Cork and Kerry were also searched by gardai as part of the cross-border operation. The Irish News understands that others are wanted in connection with the investigation. Four offices across the north used by hardline republican party Saoradh were also raided and one party member from Scotland was also arrested but later released without charge by the police on Thursday. Some of those arrested are members of the party’s national executive. Police on both sides of the border have said the arrests and searches are linked to an investigation focusing on the activities of the New IRA. The Irish News understands the first meeting, at a rented property between Cookstown and Omagh, took place in February. Sophisticated cameras and listening devices are believed to have been located throughout the building. A second meeting is understood to have taken place at a property in the Gortin area last month. Again, it is understood conversations between those attending were recorded.
Meanwhile, it is understood that a West Belfast man going by the name of Dennis McFadden had a role in arranging the meetings has not been seen since the middle of this week. Sources say that the contents of his home were packed into a removal van on Wednesday and that friends and acquaintances have been unable to contact him. It is understood the missing man was also responsible for transporting some of those arrested to both meetings. Mr Shiels said: “An issue that is emerging is the possible activity of a British agent provocateur in connection with the arrangement, facilitation and logistical support for both meetings and entrapment of the individuals said to have attended,” he said. The ‘IRA’ is the largest and most active of the armed groups opposed to the Good Friday Agreement. It was formed in 2012 after a merger between the now defunct Real IRA, Republican Action Against Drugs and a group of independent republicans.
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