Body recovered from Newry Canal

UTV reports that police investigating the disappearance in May 2003 of Gareth O’Connor, acting on intelligence received, have recovered a body from a blue Volkswagon car found in Newry canal. Body recovered from Newry canal. No positive identification has been made, cause of death is unknown and police have not confirmed that the Blue Golf belonged to Mr O’Connor. The family are being kept up-to-date with developments.

  • Gonzo

    The car is O’Connors and his identity will probably be confirmed tomorrow.

    Interestingly, the Newry Canal was dredged last September, when dozens of cars were pulled from the water.

    It would be interesting to know whether the stretch of water where the Golf was found had been sarched previously. If so, it would indicate that his body may have been ‘stored’ elsewhere for many months.

  • Davros

    If so, it would indicate that his body may have been ‘stored’ elsewhere for many months.

    And, in theory, it could indicate that he had only recently been killed ?

  • irishman

    And, in theory, it could indicate that he had only recently been killed ?

    A bit far fetched, Davros.

    This really should be an open and shut case, but for the vain attempts of the Brits/ Unionists to link O’Connor’s death to the IRA.

    Let’s look at the facts. A known Real IRA man, suspected (no, let’s be honest- all but confirmed) of being a British/ PSNI informer goes missing after several ‘colleagues’ are arrested following a botched mission in which they were all arrested- himself putting in a no-show.

    Any logical examination of the case would point to the Real IRA as the organisation culpable for the man’s murder. The mystery is why did the PSNI go to such lengths to portray the IRA as the culprits?

  • Ricardo

    ‘The mystery is why did the PSNI go to such lengths to portray the IRA as the culprits’

    They did? When did they accuse the IRA?

  • tra g

    Part of the Newry canal was dredged last year,mostly around the built up areas within the city.

    The canal is 18 miles long.

    Conspiracy theorists,zzzzzzzzzz!

  • Fanny

    It is the victim’s family which has accused the IRA of his murder.
    The PSNI and both governments have studiously avoided blaming anyone. For political reasons, they would rather this had never happened.
    For political reasons, also, Sinn Fein prefers to attack ‘securocrats’ over the accusation.

  • PatMcLarnon

    ‘It is the victim’s family which has accused the IRA of his murder.
    The PSNI and both governments have studiously avoided blaming anyone.’

    This is patently not true as Hugh Orde on a number of occasions has stated that he believed the IRA was responsible. Recently on the 2nd anniversary of his appearance the PSNI again restated that they thought that the man was dead and the IRA was responsible. The IRA were also blamed in a report compiled by the IMC, the unofficial mouthpiece of the ‘securocrats’.

    The behaviour of the PSNI just before the disappearance of O Connor was a bit bizarre. According to them they had information that the IRA was going to kill him. To justify such they passed a note to his family. Bizarre in that at the subsequent trial of a number of Tyrone men it was revealed that the PSNI had as many as seven contact numbers for their contact. Onw would have thought that the threat should have been reported to their agent as quickly as possible.
    But then again if they had just phoned him to warn of the (alleged) impending threat then there would have been no record of how the IRA was brought into the loop.

  • Fanny

    The police had seven phone numbers for O’Connor because he lived at two addresses, had two mobile phones (like most people on the border) and had to report to two police stations once a week on either side of the border.
    If you’d known him, you’d have had seven phone numbers for him as well.

  • Congal Claen

    This was a planned search. I wonder who tipped the police off? Could be more mileage in this yet…

  • Henry94

    Congal Claen

    Could be more mileage in this yet…

    An unfortunate turn of phrase under the circumstances.

  • willowfield

    Gareth O’Connor was killed by “securocrats” in an attempt to destabilise the “peace process”.

    Didn’t you know?

    (PS. Same applies to Robert McCartney.)

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Henry,

    “An unfortunate turn of phrase under the circumstances”

    Agreed. Although, that was not my intention…

  • fair_deal

    All

    It had seemed a bit of an unofficial tradition on slugger that when an event like this occured that contributors at least extended sympathies to the family at their loss before commenting – something sadly lacking from this thread.

    My sympathies to the O’Connor family.

  • fair_deal

    The matter of the disappeared had been mentioned by Dermot Ahern (I think) so i viewed this development as movement from the republican movement. Hopefully the start of more momentous things to come.

  • JD

    If this proves to indeed be Gareth O Connor and it is proved that he has been involved in a car accident leading to his death. Will we hear apologies from Hugh Orde and the anti-SF media who blamed the IRA for his death? Could this also cast doubt on Hugh Ordes other intelligence based opinions such as the Northern Bank raid?

  • Fanny

    Ridiculous Shinner apologist attempts to pass this off as a car accident will only fuel speculation that the IRA was involved after all.
    JD – you’d better check with head office before proceeding any further with this line of ‘reasoning’.

  • barney

    fair_deal,

    The body has not been identified yet so less of the premature comisserations please.

  • barney

    fanny,

    where was the ball in that rather personal attack on JD?

  • JD

    you’d better check with head office before proceeding any further with this line of ‘reasoning’.

    Fanny, contrary to your biased viewpoint republicans think for themselves. I offer my opinion on what may have happened based on the information that has so far been released nothing else. However the anti-SF media, many unionist commentators and others including Hugh Orde have operated on the assumption that the IRA were involved in Gareth O Connors’ death with absolutely no evidence whatsoever, a pattern that has been repeated over the last number of years.

  • Snapper

    Barney,

    I think you will find that Fanny has the skill of ball-playing down to a fine art. Especially when there is even the faintest whiff of a republican angle. Amazingly, Fanny never seems to address the issue at hand.

  • TAFKABO

    “Fanny, contrary to your biased viewpoint republicans think for themselves.”

    I am more than happy to accept this as true, but it raises the question of why they all seem to think exactly the same thing, in just about every situation.

    I refer you to recent opinion pieces in the Daily Ireland as an example.

  • PS

    Reports of there being no bullet holes in the body seem to suggest that a car crash may have been the cause of death

  • henry94

    b TAFKABO

    As a general comment it is often possible for an outsider to miss certain nuances. I’m sure it applies both ways.

  • Baluba

    Fanny, contrary to your biased viewpoint republicans think for themselves.”

    I am more than happy to accept this as true, but it raises the question of why they all seem to think exactly the same thing, in just about every situation.’

    It’s odd that a movement who has the running joke that the first item on every meeting is ‘the split’ can be described as one-minded.

    It is certainly not my understanding or experience.

  • PatMcLarnon

    ‘The police had seven phone numbers for O’Connor because he lived at two addresses, had two mobile phones (like most people on the border) and had to report to two police stations once a week on either side of the border.
    If you’d known him, you’d have had seven phone numbers for him as well.’

    The scrambling by apologists for the PSNI is making a rather unedifying spectacle.
    The point I was making was very clear. The PSNI alleged that O’Connor was under immediate threat from the IRA. Rather than use the immediacy of the telephone network, either landline or mobile, they chose to hand over a note of sorts. A rather overt way of attempting to connect republicans to his ‘disappearance’.
    I await the post mortem results with great interest. It may turn out that the dogs in the street were not as dependable as usual.

  • TAFKABO

    Imagine the cries of outrage if the PSNI informed someone of a possible threat to their life, by use of mobile phone?

    Only the most willful refusal to see common sense would fail to understand why the police have a policy of making personal visits to inform of threats.
    The police have to do what is right, and they also have to ensure that they can prove they did what was right, else some people would refuse to accept their word.

    I don’t know what happened in this case, but I would be extremely surprised if it transpired that a fatal accident had taken place, with a body and car ending up in a canal, with nobody knowing about it, and apparently no evidence at the time that an accident had occured.

    Couple this with the seeming surety that the police recovered this body and car as a result of intelligence information.

  • PatMcLarnon

    Given the court case of the four Tyrone men and the resultant information that came out it was clear that O’Connor was an agent working for the PSNI. Given that fact one would believe that if the PSNI believed their was a genuine threat against one of their agents then ‘normal’ protocol would be abandoned to ensure his safety. Only a fool would fail to see that.

    The fact is you don’t know what happened in this case and neither did 100% of the other posters to this site who were happy to be drip fed by ‘security sources’ and believed hook line and sinker the tales spun by ‘security correspondents’.

    Yet again you put great store by their yarn that they were acting on intelligence information. Jim Cusack et al must love people like you.

  • Snapper

    Barney –

    Doh! I of course meant to say Man playing regarding Fanny.

  • barney

    Snapper,

    Thank God, thought you’d gone mad back there. See you later at tonight’s briefing. Oops!

  • Fanny

    So – definitely a car accident then?

  • PatMcLarnon

    One definite established so far is the relationship between O’Connor and the PSNI. There never was any proven connection between mainstream republicans and the individual concerned.
    However, at that time whenever that was pointed out it led to the usual labelling by the usual cadre for PSNI lickspittles.
    The dogs in the street are a bit muted though.

  • Disgusted

    Can you all hold off dancing on the man’s grave at least until more substantial information comes in, please?

  • Comrade Stalin

    PS, there were no bullet holes in Robert McCartney. But it wasn’t found that he died of a car accident.

    It is not impossible that this was an accident, but it seems like it would be a fantastic coincidence. If he was on his way to Dundalk at the time, then he was driving by the scenic route. It could be that he decided to go for a leisurely detour, but considering the background here that seems unlikely.

    It’s disappointing that the first objective of the republican apologists to this blog is to contribute a lot of obfuscation to the debate in an attempt to confuse the discussion, as though the IRA had never murdered a tout before.

  • Fanny

    I am very familiar with the road to O’Meath and there is no part of it I can recall where a car could leave the carriageway and enter the ship canal without leaving considerable evidence of an accident in its wake.

  • Fanny

    NEWSFLASH – I’ve just been told that Daily Ireland is suggesting Mr O’Connor was the victim of an accident as he was found in “the seating area” of the car (as opposed to the boot, where they usually put them).
    It would seem that the only suicide we’re talking about here is a clear case of professional suicide by the jounos at DI.
    I have of course absolutely no idea whether or not the IRA killed Mr O’Connor but these absurd claims in the party rag are already adding up to a circumstantial case for the amateur prosecution. It’s well-past time McAuley put O’Millionaire on speed-dial.

  • TAFKABO

    Given the court case of the four Tyrone men and “the resultant information that came out it was clear that O’Connor was an agent working for the PSNI. Given that fact one would believe that if the PSNI believed their was a genuine threat against one of their agents then ‘normal’ protocol would be abandoned to ensure his safety. Only a fool would fail to see that.”

    Sorry, but that is speculation, built upon speculation.

    “The fact is you don’t know what happened in this case and neither did 100% of the other posters to this site who were happy to be drip fed by ‘security sources’ and believed hook line and sinker the tales spun by ‘security correspondents’.”

    Ummm, what are you talking about?, I have not made a single definite or “absolute” claim, whereas, you have (see paragraph above).

    “Yet again you put great store by their yarn that they were acting on intelligence information. Jim Cusack et al must love people like you.”

    On the contrary, I assumed tey were acting on intelligence information, since they seemed to go directly to a car in the canal.I have not seen any claim from the security forces that they were acting on intelligence information, have you?

    I could make the counterclaim that the Daily Ireland must love people like you, but I don’t want to get into that kind of discussion.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Fanny, I agree with you but the car must have gotten into the canal somehow. If someone moved it there, the means by which they did so would have had to have been fairly elaborate.

  • PatMcLarnon

    ‘Can you all hold off dancing on the man’s grave at least until more substantial information comes in, please?’

    You’re over two years late with that plea friend.

    ‘It’s disappointing that the first objective of the republican apologists to this blog is to contribute a lot of obfuscation to the debate in an attempt to confuse the discussion, as though the IRA had never murdered a tout before.’

    Great to see that we have now arrived at the point where obfuscation is condemned. Pity you weren’t around at the time when dozens of posters to this site were quite positve about who and what were responsible for the O’Connor ‘disappearance’ and ‘murder’.
    I agree let’s have no confusion. Lets’ also not perpetuate the lies that have surrounded this case from the start, when the off the record briefings and dogs in the street garbage were accepted as fact.

  • Even more disgusted

    I’ll take that as a no, then.

  • TAFKABO

    “I agree let’s have no confusion. Lets’ also not perpetuate the lies that have surrounded this case from the start, when the off the record briefings and dogs in the street garbage were accepted as fact.”

    Pat.

    you seem pretty confident about your claims regarding the (presumed) deceased and his relationship with the security forces.
    Since you have made it clear that you abhor speculation and insinuation, could you explain to us where you got your information about the alleged relationship about which you seem so certain?

  • Fanny

    What Pat knows for sure, as usual, is that it wasn’t the IRA. Especially if it was.

  • JD

    I think some posters are missing the point that I introduced much earlier on this thread.

    The facts of this case are not yet clear however the fact that Mr O Connor’s body (probably) has been found in the drivers seat of his car in a canal, opens up the possibility that this may after all have been some form of accident. This is in total contrast to what Hugh Orde and most of the media have been saying for two years. There has also been a pattern in recent years of unnamed security sources as well as public pronouncements by Hugh Orde that the IRA are responsible for certain acts with little or no evidence. If Mr O Connors disappearance indeed turns out to have been less sinister than Hugh Orde has indicated questions must arise about his motivations.

  • Snapper

    TAFKABO,

    If you check the facts you will find that the judge had some very interesting things to say about the deceased.

    I must say that the accident theory seems at first glance to very suspect. However, is there no-one out there who thinks that the timing of this find based on “intelligence” is rather co-incidental considering that an IRA statement appears imminent?

    I see Fanny’s love affair for the quality Daily Ireland shows no sign of abating. I think you will find that they are presenting what appears to be evidence found thus far which suggests a car accident but did not state categorically that it was. They also went much further on the psni/real ira angles of the story that no other papers touched, with the exception of the Sunday World who normally would go for the republican juggular.

  • BODIES

    Snapper, I think you are onto something. It would not be the first time the Republican Movement has traded bodies for negotiations/government. You are probably right in regards to the timing of the discovery of the body. Loose ends being tied up before everyone sits down at the table come Autumn.

    (Two) McCartney suspects charged, one disappeared body found, what odds movement on the Northern Bank robbery will emerge before long. No photographs but perhaps bona fides such as these are the trading tokens behind the scenes.

    Good thinking, Snapper.

  • Snapper

    BODIES,

    With respect – I think you are being somewhat fecetious. It is widely accepted that the deceased was an agent and that being the case I find it hard to believe that the psni were not fully aware of his location as most agents would be traceable by tracking devices etc. On the other hand if and when the real ira found out he was an agent it is also highly liklely that they dealt with him in the usual paramilitary manner.

    Anyway, whats the point of revealing his body for gain when it was denied twice initially?

  • BODIES

    How many years were the disappeared denied, until enough political gain was to be had by giving them up? Outstanding issues are being traded. The precedent has already been set, as you well know. It is not a far leap of imagination or logic to conclude that, rather than another “mysterious coincidence of timing”, once again the choreography is in effect. How stupid are we to be taken for?

    On second thought, don’t answer that. It probably was a single car accident, yes, that’s it. On his way to meet his handler. Big cock-up by the PSNI who used the Provos to cover-up their nefarious misdeed. Dumped his body and milked it to harm Sinn Fein. Yes, it all makes sense that. I read something like that in Daily Ireland so it must be true.

  • Snapper

    Will someone please explain to me why a conspiracy theory is impossible? Is the state so pure and un-tarnished that they could never have disposed of an informer? One crucial point that is being overlooked here is the subsequent trial after Gareth O’Connor went missing. It has been suggested that if he gave evidence then all sorts of revelations could have been made regarding other informants.

    Also – is no-one struck by the lack of attacks on Sinn Fein in the press over this? I get the distinct feeling that this case is being slightly hushed up. No evidence was needed in the past to have a pop at republicans, but now we have a car and a body and hardly a whimper from the usual suspects. Go Figure!

  • BODIES

    There’s just no pleasing you lot, is there?

  • Martin

    I’VE noticed in the sothern media that the new thing is to lump all the Ira-s —-Real,Provisional,Continuity -Under the umbrella THE IRA–this is deliberately misleading and they do this in the knowlege that a lot of people in the South with little or no interest in the North do not realise that these are not all the same organisation and how diametrically opposed to each other they are–the establishment media know that these people will be influenced by this on voting day, typical would be the voter who would say—-I dont like any of the main partys but im not giving a preference to Sinn Fein because they are still killing people.

    I don’t know whether the provos had a hand in Mr O’ Connors death or not, but if it turns out that he was killed by dissident Republicans maybe the Southern media would be good enough to report it as such and make the distinction from the provos who are pro-G.F.A and on ceasefire .

  • TAFKABO

    “Will someone please explain to me why a conspiracy theory is impossible?”

    Sorry, but that’s not the way it works.The onus is on YOU to explain why the conspiracy theory is plausible, something you haven’t come close to doing so far.

    ” Is the state so pure and un-tarnished that they could never have disposed of an informer?”

    I suggest yougoogle the words “Occams razor” ,and then come back to us.

    “Also – is no-one struck by the lack of attacks on Sinn Fein in the press over this?”

    Classic conspiracy theorist mindset.

    Now you know that if the Shinners were taking a battering in the press, you would cite this as evidence of a conspiracy, and at the same time you think that the lack of a press feeding frenzy is also evidence of a conspiracy.

    What WOULDN’T be evidence of a conspiracy in your opinion?

  • willowfield

    Is this for real? The Provo apologists are claiming O’Connor died in a car accident?

    LOL!

    This just gets better and better. Full marks for whoever thought that one up!

  • Henry94

    If the PNSI, as they claim, received a tip-off then the car crash theory looks unlikely. As does suicide.

    Beyond that let’s wait for evidence.

  • JD

    Henry,

    “Beyond that let’s wait for evidence.”

    That would be a first in recent years for the likes of Hugh Orde, the bulk of the media and very many unionist minded posters on this site.

  • Fanny

    Ohhhh! Get her!

  • DCB

    Martin

    Is it such a distortion by the southern media to do this. Ask any faction who they are and they’ll say that they are the IRA (or more probably the Irish name for it that I’m not even going to try and spell) – and call the other lot a bunch of sell outs.

    CIRA, RIRA, PIRA – they all see themselves as the true legitimate republican army.

  • Fanny

    I wonder if there’s any collusion between them?
    Somebody should set up an inquiry.

  • martin

    D,C.B,

    It is a distortion ,the Provisionals recognise the Southern state–the real and Continuity iras do not and plan to overthrow it by force of arms.

    saying IRA -OGHALIE NA EIRREANN-To describe all these movements, whatever they describe themselves AS; endangers the peace process up north as the IRA (Provisionals are on ceasefire),Paisley will use any excuse to get out of fulfilling his obligations under the G.F.A It does not help when he can point out that according to the southern media SF/IRA did this and SF/IRA did that—regarding things carried out by the continuity,real or the military wing of the Irish Labour party-the Official Ira (Who have never disbanded or decommissioned ask Mr De Rossa

    Fanny,

    dont waste more money setting up a tribunal about whether the Ira(s) collude among themselves—-they regard each other as traitors and hate each others guts.

  • JD

    Please….. Oglaigh na hEireann

  • martin

    JD
    Sorry havent done Irish since primary school and always sign mine p.o’neill

  • DCB

    JD

    See I knew better than to try and spell it

  • PatMcLarnon

    Good to see that the ‘we don’t know anything for sure yet’ brigade have now entered the debate. I wonder where they where for the best part of two years when the fate of O’Connor was a known fact to a lot of unionist posters (btw where have they gone). To even question the ‘facts’ around this case was met with the usual smears and snide remarks from the usual quarters.

    Although not knowing any facts it is interesting that Forensic Fanny (even the image sends shudders) has all but ruled out a car crash angle.
    Experts on car crashers and forensics; experts on bugging devices used by the CIA and Mossad. You get them all on Slugger.

  • Fanny

    As I think someone has pointed out above, Pat might like to take a close shave with Occam’s Razor. A car crash must be the least likely of all possible explanations. So why is it Pat’s favoured theory?

  • PatMcLarnon

    Fanny,

    your first post on this subject was so erroneous that it bordered on the dishonest. At this juncture you make an assumption about the theory I have on this matter which again I have to point out is erroneous. I have not stated that I have a favoured theory.

  • Fanny

    Then there must be a full inquiry!

  • Minesapint

    Henry94 – “If the PSNI received a tip off..”???

    How did they know where to search? If it was a suicide? It it was an accident?

    Is the timing, on the threshold of another bold step forward a co-incidence?

  • You Read It Here First On Slugger

    Washington pressure over disappeared

    By Chris Thornton

    14 June 2005
    A special Congressional hearing on the Disappeared is being planned to put pressure on their killers to return the bodies, it emerged today.

    Relatives of the remaining missing men secured the hearing during a visit to Washington DC that finished at the weekend.

    As the apparent discovery of Gareth O’Connor’s body raised hopes that the IRA will tie up loose ends by returning the bodies of the Disappeared, American authorities have pledged to provide political pressure and practical help.

    Families of the Disappeared say New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith, who has led Capitol Hill hearings on the murder of Pat Finucane, told them that the House Committee on International Relations will hold a hearing in the autumn or the spring.

    American officials are also seeking more information about securing specialist search equipment that has been used to discover graves of Irish railroad workers in Pennsylvania.

    Ann Morgan, whose brother Seamus Ruddy was murdered by the INLA and secretly buried in France 20 years ago, said the prospect of the Congressional hearing is “uplifting”.

    Anna McShane, whose father Charlie Armstrong is believed to have been killed by the IRA in 1981, added: “The amount of support we got was unbelievable, especially compared to our own governments.”

    Meanwhile, police were continuing to search the area on the Newry Canal, where Gareth O’Connor’s car was found on Saturday, more than two years after he disappeared.

    Police were still trying to formally identify the body found in the car, but Mr O’Connor’s family and investigators have little doubt that he has been found.

    A church source is reported to have given police the tip about where the body would be discovered.

  • willowfield

    How did they know where to search? If it was a suicide? It it was an accident?

    O’Connor tipped them off just before the car went spinning into the canal.

  • ???

    it wasn’t an accident or a suicide, he was found in the boot of the car

  • None so blind

    No wonder he had an accident, how could he see where he was going trying to drive from the boot?

  • Gonzo

    Police have just confirmed that the body is O’Connor’s.

  • PatMcLarnon

    I take it that the line of him being found in the boot of the car is yet another lie surrounding this case.