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25 September 1997 Edition

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RUC admit recruiting informers

Eight weeks into a ceasefire, the RUC in Derry admitted that it is still deeply involved in a strategy of infiltrating and compromising the nationalist community by using informers. This unprecedented admission followed a SF press conference on Thursday when Councillor Cathal Crumley introduced three recent targets of the RUC's recruitment attempts.

Crumley slammed the RUC's "ongoing trawl for informers," and challenged those who were saying that the RUC were acceptable in relation to drugs and traffic matters. Crumley pointed out that all three victims, young men in their early 20s, had been approached while in contact with the RUC for so-called "community" matters.

All three were visibly shaking at the press conference. One man, too frightened to be identified, revealed how he came into contact with the RUC as a result of drink driving. He had no licence but was told there would be no charges if he supplied the RUC with information about certain republicans - members of Sinn Féin. When the youth refused to cooperate he was followed and approached again by plainclothes RUC two weeks ago.

Patrick McGlinchey came to the attention of the RUC 3 weeks ago after a domestic assault - the RUC supposedly carrying out "community policing."

While in his cell a plainclothes RUC approached him. "We can help you if you help us" was the line and McGlinchey was asked to supply information about named individuals from Shantallow. Once he got information he was told to ring Strand Road Barracks and ask for Matt. The same plainclothes man contacted him during the week and told him to be at the Steelstown Road at a certain time on Friday.

McGlinchey was too frightened to go out and when required to go to the Barracks he took his father along.

Tony Duffy was approached in his cell by a plainclothes man and asked to watch and report on people in Creggan.

Crumley stressed "The only thing these men had in common was that they had come into contact with the RUC, all in non-political contexts. This highlights the fact that the RUC are not a credible or acceptable police force. They see their primary role as targeting the nationalist community. The only way they can gain any sort of foothold in the nationalist community is by attempting to recruit informers.

"In the midst of a peace process they are recruiting informers, regardless of the amount of human misery this strategy has caused for those targeted."

Councillor Crumley urged anyone who has been targeted in this way to come forward and highlight their situation.

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