BBC journalists among 11 held by Gardaí in Donegal

This one should be worth watching as more information comes out. Gardaí in Donegal have now arrested 11 men over “ongoing investigations into paramilitary activity”. Seven were arrested last night and four this afternoon. And among the seven arrested last night.. were four BBC journalists. We’ll have to wait to see what, if any, charges are brought. According to the BBC report

The BBC has said the journalists were working on a BBC NI current affairs investigation and had full editorial authority under the BBC’s guidelines. A spokesperson said the other parties present were fully aware that they were with BBC journalists.

And from the iol report

A spokeswoman for the service said that meant they had approval for what they were doing. But she refused to say anything else about the arrests, citing the matter’s sensitivity.

Indeed. Adds The International Herald Tribune coverage hints at a possible scenario. Update The 4 BBC journalists have been released without charge. And, as this report notes

The journalists were probing Real IRA activity in the area for BBC’s Spotlight programme, which also produces material for Panorama.

More From the BBC’s Vincent Kearney.

“Four of those people were BBC journalists. The van, I understand, was not being driven by a member of BBC staff,” he said. “I am told that initially the driver of the van refused to stop when ordered to do so. “The van was then forced to stop when it was rammed by a police car. Heavily armed police officers forced open the doors and arrested all seven men inside.”

Final Update Further details at this post.


  • jone

    Spotlight away-day gone comically wrong?

  • Shore Road Resident

    Looks like it.
    When I first heard this I thought they’d finally lifted the Radio Foyle cumann…

  • susan

    This is what we call The Muppet Show.

    And no, I didn’t mean this comment for the blog item directly below it.

  • Dubh driocht

    Please God ,Hugo Dee has gone for his tea.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Assuming it’s not some celebrity island variation then for arrests to be made presumably it involved some dissident republicans with some hardware and/or berets doing a promo.

  • John Biggin

    Nothing would surprise me about the guards in Donegal

  • joeCanuck

    It’s obviously an eco-tourist thing. Police (stupid) have got it wrong as usual.

  • IRIA

    Sting operation by the BBC? Wouldn’t put it past them.

    Revenge for Carrickmore…ha.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “But she refused to disclose anything else about the arrests, saying the matter was sensitive and that the BBC wanted to protect the men’s identities”

    Their cover is well and truely blown now, the Gardai made sure of that. According to the Irish Indepedent, “A high-powered team of anti-terrorist gardai from Dublin arrived in Co Donegal at 4.15pm yesterday and a top-level conference was under way shortly afterwards at Letterkenny Garda Station.”

  • IRIA

    “Their cover is well and truely blown now, the Gardai made sure of that… ”

    You saying the Gardai swooped in so they can ruin the BBC’s story on Real IRA members/training in the Republic and not b/c of the fact the RIRA is a “terrorist group”?

  • Comrade Stalin

    If the police have information on terrorist activity they are duty-bound to act on it, not hold back just so that a few journalists can get their scoop. Imagine the outrage if one of those journalists ended up dead, and it emerged that the police knew a meeting was taking place and did nothing ?

  • waffler

    I agree but sadly not always the case as the fru allowed Franco Hegarty(alledged informer)to have a number of phone calls to his mothers home and speak directly to Martin Mc Guiness about his safe return to Derry.
    On receiving these assurities mr Hegarty done so.
    On receiving instructions from Mc Guiness, Hegartys sisters drove Franco to a location in Donegal where he transferred to another vechile travelled a very short distance to the appointed dwelling where he would have a chat with a few people and be returned in no time.
    The family had co-operated fully as they had received these assurances from the horses mouth so to speak.
    In the lax nature of the above events an amature investigator would have been able to follow through. However are we to believe that the FRU and other agencies with all at their disposal were not aware of unfolding events.
    Inconceivable to this point, more so by the fact that Franco was then handed over to Freddie (stakeknife) for interrogation and execution.The point being, should the brits have lost control of events at any early stage they would automatically have had a re-engagement point with Franco on his introduction to brit agent Stakeknife.
    Yet no action was taken to stop the execution as the same no action against Mc Guiness (who was never questioned by anyone in connection to these events although a key player)very odd as Mrs Hegarty had verified all Mc Guiness`s involvement including several phone calls which were made from Franco`s holding location in england. Yet no outrage.