5 January 2006 Edition

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Ó Caoláin slams scurrilous and despicable allegation

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Sinn Féin Cavan/Monaghan Deputy and Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described as "scurrilous and despicable" an article in a Sunday newspaper stating that he is rumoured in County Monaghan to be under suspicion as a Garda informer. Ó Caoláin said it was part of an effort to demoralise and divide republicans in the wake of the revelation that Denis Donaldson was a British agent.

Ó Caoláin told An Phoblacht that his solicitor contacted the editor of Ireland on Sunday on the eve of publication of the story after he, Ó Caoláin, had been phoned by journalist John Lee. "I told Mr Lee that the story was absolute nonsense. On consulting my solicitor I instructed him to tell Ireland on Sunday's editor that the article, if published, would be defamatory. Nonetheless the piece was published, including my denial," said Ó Caoláin.

"The scurrilous and despicable allegation that I am rumoured in County Monaghan to be a Garda informer is, I firmly believe, part of an effort to demoralise and divide republicans. Similar tactics have been used in Belfast in an attempt to blacken the name of other republicans and to spread alarm and dismay among the members and supporters of Sinn Féin. Such tactics are not new and have been resorted to before by British securocrats and their mouthpieces in sections of the media.

"Last Sunday's article has absolutely no foundation in fact. In the North the hands of the PSNI Special Branch and MI5 are visible in the effort to spread falsehood and demoralisation. The question must be asked are official or semi-official 'sources' in the 26 Counties playing a similar role?"

Ó Caoláin said it was important that people did not allow themselves to be misled. "The clear intention here is to undermine Sinn Féin's leadership and membership at a time of unprecedented growth for the party, especially in the 26 Counties. People should not be misled. I am confident that broad republican opinion is well aware of the nature of the black propaganda now being peddled as it was so often in the past. Our project will proceed and succeed, despite the efforts of those who seek to derail it.

O Caoláin said he had a proud record of over a quarter of century of honourable service in the republican struggle and "never compromised that struggle by word or action and never would."


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