Collusion, confusion, conclusions but who benefits?

The only conclusion so far coming out of the Billy Wright Inquiry has been a little surprising. The Inquiry was set up to determine if state agencies had a part to play in Wright’s death.

However, the sole organisation to reach a judgment based on the evidence presented thus far has been the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM). They have concluded that a former leading member and current member of the Republican Network for Unity (RNU), Kevin ‘Bap’ McQuillan was a British agent due to, at least in part, transcripts coming from the Inquiry.

Addition: A member of the RNU Ard Chomhairle has commented – his statement at the end As reported by the Irish News:

Last night a spokesman for the republican socialist movement said: “The INLA leadership of 1997 and indeed the current leadership are convinced Kevin McQuillan was working for British intelligence during the period of interest, namely during the period under scrutiny by the Billy Wright inquiry.

A spokesperson further stated:

While this is not in itself damning, the INLA has claimed that more evidence of informant activities by Mr McQuillan exists.

However, a spokesman for the paramilitary group said it could not make any further details public due the risk of “compromising methodology and personnel”.

Some of the elements that lead to their conclusion McQuillan was and/or is an agent were elaborated on the IRSM forum by IRSP member Willie Gallagher:

When an MI5 handler gave evidence in March of last year he claimed that he got a phone call from his agent on the 28-04-97 about a hostage situation as it was happening live. This was supported with intelligence documents, verified by independent database experts, stating the same. According to INLA sources this baffled the then leadership as they were not aware this was happening at that time.

Then later when Duncan McLauglan gave his evidence from the 21-10-08 to 03-11-08:

He claimed that he phoned an IRSP contact during the hostage situation. It has been claimed that this contact was Bap whose ‘memory’ can’t recall this. Bap has claimed that he is not disputing he did indeed get this call but that he can’t recall it due to ‘memory’ lapses which conveniently occurs since a beating he received in 1998. Furthermore he can’t explain why he didn’t relay this information on to senior members of the RSM who he met with less than an hour after he got the phone call. The only one in the RSM on the outside who had knowledge of a live hostage situation was Bap who kept that between he and his handler.

It is impossible to draw any conclusion on who is correct from what is in the public domain. Indeed the Republican Network for Unity of which McQuillan is at least an acting PRO has supported his position.

“Members of the network met the Irish republican socialist movement leadership on a number of occasions.

“After examining the information and after consultation, the position of the RNU is that the information presented was not found to be compelling and Kevin McQuillan remains a member of the RNU.”

The RNU even permitted a press release to be issued in McQuillan’s name on an incident involving members of the IRSP and the PSNI while this was bubbling under, something that caused a lot of irritation to members/supporters of the IRSP.

McQuillan’s story has interesting side bars – his claim to have left the IRSP in 1992 during a court case to have an exclusion order lifted, his denial he had joined the IRSCNA after leaving the IRSP for what seems like a 2nd time and there are also claims he applied unsuccessfully to join both Sinn Fein and éirígí before being accepted into the RNU.

It remains to be seen if this will impact on the Irish Republican Forum for Unity (a group compromising the RNU, IRSP, 32CSM and independent republicans) but it seems the IRSP may have already withdrawn and before this story broke the 32CSM rejected a motion at their Ard Fheis calling for their withdrawal.

32. To break contact from the IRFU – Irish Republican Forum for Unity as it is nothing more than a talking shop. As we believe it is to poach and usurp the 32csm membership into the thinking of other groups that do not support armed struggle at this time. Fermanagh 32CSM

Of course it is beyond doubt that the British state has agents in every Republican organisation and they will be trying to reinforce the ‘Peace Process’ and/or British interests by their use. Even SF claimed this week that state agencies were still being used against their supporters.

“Undoubtedly many people will see a more sinister hand behind the SOCA operation this morning. SOCA is based in and run from London. As in the past when political unionism gets itself into difficulties, as the DUP have in recent weeks, the faceless opponents of Irish republicanism who are still in prominent positions will seek to come to their rescue with operations like we have witnessed today.”

Although I’ve also heard some republicans suggest the Provisional movement has placed its own operatives within dissenting Republican groupings. While of course this is possible and logically it has never been supported with evidence.

Agents are undoubtedly out there, doing the bidding of their masters (whoever they are) and attempting to direct republicanism firmly into Stormont and full participation in democratic structures within the British state or just plain bring about its downfall. McQuillan may or may not be one but his story and his membership of the Republican Network could just be the death bell for the Republican Forum for Unity.

Now that is something that would keep more than one establishment grouping happy.

Addition: RNU Ard Chomhairle member has give the following statement on the RSM forum:

As a member of RNU’s Ard Chomhairle, I can confirm that the RSM agreed that they would not issue a public statement about the allegations about Bap. I can also confirm that after the TSG statement from Bap that this whole situation developed differently.

I agree with Willie, when he says Bap was not questioned in a hostile enviroment etc…

As I’ve said before, its a terrible situation for both the RSM and RNU but we’ve all faced worse and lived to tell another tale….I just hope the mutual respect both groups have had will continue..

At present the RNU L/Ship are still seeking concrete answers and hopefully we’ll get them. Until then, we’ll continue our strategy to rebuild republicanism and links with like-minded groups and individuals such as, the IRSM.

  • Patrick Ward

    This revelation would of course throw interesting new light upon Bap’s assertion that the Darkley massacre was the work of British intelligence. Just quite what he meant by this is now open to new interpretation…

  • Suilven

    “the Irish Republican Forum for Unity (a group compromising the RNU, IRSP, 32CSM and independent republicans)”

    Freudian slip?

  • Mark McGregor


    Very funny. I’m not even going to fix it, others deserve the laughs my appalling grasp of English can result in.

  • Brian MacAodh

    If it wasn’t for Bap maybe the INLA could have succeeding in bringing a socialist paradise here in Ireland!

    What working class heroes!

  • Dave

    I wonder why NI’s so-called ‘republicans’ are so susceptible to recruitment by the other side? It is probably because a shabby sectarian conflict that is a violation of the right to national self-determination rather than an assertion of it would not attract men of conviction and principle who would not betray their cause but rather it would only attract misfits, malcontents, anti-intellectuals, thugs, opportunists, sociopaths and other types of low character that are easily corruptible being already morally corrupted.

    It’s scary that this kind of ‘evidence’ will get you a bullet in the head in NI, but I guess these handlers know that when they plant ‘clues’ to the identity of those they want killed. The Shinners had no means of detecting agents within their ranks since Gerry and Martin appointed British agents to run that organisations ISU, so it’s safe to assume that they are infiltrated from top to bottom by British agents. All that the folks up north gave to Irish republicanism in NI was British leadership of it. It’s no wonder the British security establishment thinks that you’re a bunch of thick paddies since you transparently are.

  • IRIA

    Dave: I think you’re oversimplifying things a bit much. Isn’t every other loyalist on the British payroll?

  • Dave

    It looks like it. But you have the same lack of legitimacy there too. No man of principle would support loyalists since thre is no principle that asserts that pro-state murder gangs have a right to inflict terror on a community.

  • Brian MacAodh


    I don’t think PIRA was completely infiltrated. How could they carry out the devastating (billions of pounds) bombings in London and Birmingham in the 90s?

    S. Armagh was not seriously infiltrated, at least.

  • Freddie


    Tell that to the sniper gang.

  • suspicious

    If it is indeed true that Kevin McQuillan recieved a phone call from the prison governor during an armed hostage situation and did not tell anyone about it and then an MI5 handler recieves a phone call from his agent within the rsm reporting a hostage incident as it was happening sounds more than suspicious that he is indeed an agent. McQuillan claims he cannot remember getting such a call sounds a bit dodgey.

  • paddy

    bap is a socialist republican this is a joke.he built a wall around waste ground beside his house next door to and under the watch tower of new barsley psni station and ran an illegal taxi depo from it and not a word about it anybody else would have been pulled out by the trunks

  • IRIA

    “Tell that to the sniper gang” Huh?

    You mean the one that was running around S. Armagh for years?

  • Freddie


    Yeah the ones who suffered involuntary evacuations of the bowels when the SAS caught them red handed. Having first infiltrated them of course.

  • Ramzi Nohra

    why do you think they were infiltrated? i remember reading something about that, although i thought their capture, after a long period of “success” could be down to intensive surveillance etc.

  • Rory Carr

    Looks like the Irps, only days after having publicly renounced the use of violence, are already gearing up for another of their traditional festivals of internicene bloodletting.

    You would think that self proclaimed revolutionary socialists would at least pay heed to Lenin’s advice on spies, agents and the like, which was that, as Jesus said of the poor, “they are always with us” and the best thing to do is to get the best out of them as they are divils for hard work in order to prove their credentials.

    How anyone can hold any respect for a group that would publicly denounce a comrade of the most serious offence in the republican socialist canon on mere suspicion thus putting his very life in danger is beyond me.

    This Willie Gallagher fellow really is a piece of work, popping up all over the place accusing this one and that one of every anti-republican crime in the book as if in some desperate attempt to make himself appear as the paragon of all republican virtue. I am not usually one for advocating violence myself but it is very hard to understand why somebody just doesn’t give this fellow a good kick on the shins and punch his nose while they’re at it.

  • ofijaof

    It was after the first cease fire that they where infiltrated as this gave the british forces a foothold in the area

  • for deffs

    i agree with your stance on willie g rory. he has the o hara and devine families manipulated and is using them and a few dumbfucks like your man who loves to tell everyone he was in the cell with bobby sands
    sounds like he fell out with bap somewhere along the line.

  • Mark McGregor


    Máirtín óg Meehan, a RNU Ard Chomhairle member (though I only know he is one due to his response on the RSM forum – they don’t put their AC online afaik) has stated the RSM after meeting the RNU and McQuillan on this matter had agreed not to make it public. This is despite it starting to filter out in circles that even I’m on the edge of.

    It was only after IRSP members got annoyed at McQuillan seeming to have a snidey pop at the INLA during a RNU press release that some of their supporters lost the rag and started to to imply what was going on in the background.

    At that point it seems that McQuillan himself started speaking to the press on the issue and the RSM responded to questions from a journalist as a result of that.

    It seems McQuillan was the one that wanted this played out in the media not Willie Gallagher, the IRSP or RNU.

    Though I must stress I’ve no insight and am only going on what all involved wish to put in the public domain.

    I’m firmly in the innocent until proven guilty camp but looking at who this situation benefits and damages.

  • Freddie

    Because successes like that do not depend soley on surveillance. Someone had to tell them where and when the so called sniper and his little friends were going to turn up, and with the weapon. At the time there was a major flap because the weapon could not be found. Then someone measured the cattle trailer and realised that it had a false bottom.

    Lucky for Carragher and co that Major was PM and not Maggie. Otherwise they would be the subject of tasteless annual marches.

  • Mark McGregor


    Further, the RSM were deleting every mention of McQuillan’s name in relation to this on their forum until he spoke to the media about it.

  • picador

    So is the RNU the political adjunct of ONH?

  • paddy

    was mc quillan not the driver of the taxi when he run his best friend jimmy brown. an idiot by the way.anyway they had a few swalls wif george searight esq. n agreed who could b killed n who couldnt in the europa hotel

  • granni trixie

    AS someone who aligns with nonviolence, the above posts are surreal.

  • IRIA

    Freddie: wishful thinking. After years and years of success they were likely to get caught. Gotta give some credit to the Brits for increasing surveillance, but I’m not buying what you’re selling.

  • IRIA

    Adding: The sniper brigade were caught by the alleged “best of the best”. I’d hope they’d have the thought to search the barn/garage where they caught multiple members of the brigade for a weapon. If not, I’d think THEY were colluding.

  • Dave

    “S. Armagh was not seriously infiltrated, at least.” – Brian MacAodh

    No, obviously not. But they were more interested in making money, with ‘the cause’ providing them with perfect cover for their organised crime enterprises. They were ‘nutted’ by the state turning a blind eye so long as they stayed “good republicans” i.e. did not oppose the conversion of PIRA from an anti-state into a pro-state group. The point a debased cause only drawing debased individuals stands.

  • igor

    Tom Sharpe wrote a wonderful series of books on BOSS In South Africa. Try Riotous Assembly or Indecent Exposure.

    The parallels are amazing but sadly we missed out on the exploding ostriches

  • Only Asking

    Whilst I have yet to personally hear the said interview, I am led to believe that Danny Morrison said that I was told of, or was already aware, of a set of proposals that were to be put to the prisoners, and that we had talked of this.

    This did not happen. If he had of appraised me of such a serious development, my first point of reference would have been to contact the National leadership of the Republican Socialist Movement, in particular those delegated with the struggle within the Blocks. At no point had I cause to.

    Clearly put…it did not happen

    He claimed that he phoned an IRSP contact during the hostage situation. It has been claimed that this contact was Bap whose ‘memory’ can’t recall this. Bap has claimed that he is not disputing he did indeed get this call but that he can’t recall it due to ‘memory’ lapses which conveniently occurs since a beating he received in 1998. Furthermore he can’t explain why he didn’t relay this information on to senior members of the RSM who he met with less than an hour after he got the phone call. The only one in the RSM on the outside who had knowledge of a live hostage situation was Bap who kept that between he and his handler.

    How can he be relied on then in any evidence if his memory is suspect? Is Morisson telling the truth about the HS or is McQuillan? This piece of information must now be stricken from the HS debate record surely?

  • J Kelly

    the word has it in derry that the irps seriously believe that one of their former members is a tout and believe that this inquiry will out him as well.

  • Unless I’m mistaken, this same accusation was made in the Irish Times 25 years ago, so it’s hardly new.

  • Only Asking

    So is McQuillan the reason the IRSP prisoners didn’t know of the offer?

  • Picador,to clarify the RNU is not the political adjunct of ONH or any other armed group!

    It is an independant Republican Socialist political pressure group…