‘Ingram’ claim leaked: Half IRA leadership were ‘working’ for the British?

So the Belfast Telegraph’s front page splash is finally available online. It’s based on document allegedly to be (h/t @faduda) presented to the Smithwick Inquiry by Ian Hurst (aka Martin Ingram), a former intelligence operative for the British in Northern Ireland. Liam Clarke reports:

It claims the IRA ran agents in the RUC and also that Dundalk Garda station was regarded by British intelligence as “a nest of vipers”, with at least two officers actively assisting the Provos.

Clarke bullets Hurst’s major claims here:

  • The shadowy Force Research Unit (FRU) had a file on suspected rogue gardai prepared to pass information to the IRA and act as its agents. MI5 also had a network of agents with the Garda.
  • The IRA had a network of informants in public agencies such as social security offices and vehicle licensing departments.
  • One in four IRA members was an agent, rising to one in two among senior members.
  • Martin McGuinness was involved in all strategic military decisions taken by the IRA.
Intriguingly Hurst/Ingram also claims:

…he assisted John Stevens’ inquiry into security force collusion with terrorists in Northern Ireland. The document states Lord Stevens told him that of 210 terrorist suspects he arrested, only three were not security force agents, and some worked for several agencies.

As Clarke later notes, Hurst has a record of getting things right… The paper leads with his allegation that up to fifty per cent of the leadership of the IRA were actively working with the British… If the IRA played the long war tactic, it would seem that the British also played a long game of infiltration…
Perhaps the most shocking claim is that a rogue Garda Sergeant leaked intelligence to Stakeknife. Stakeknife has been identified as Freddie Scappaticci, a veteran Belfast republican.

It all gives the term collusion a very strange and bizarre twist…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty