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16 October 1997 Edition

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RUC plot to `set up' Belfast republican

by Laura Friel

The RUC offered a £5,000 bribe and said they would overlook a driving offence if a West Belfast man agreed to ``set up'' a named senior republican. ``I knew rightly what they meant by set up,'' said Gerard Scott. ``They wanted me to tell them what houses he went into, what cars he drove, what people he associated with and dates, times and places. I have no doubt that the information would be used to assassinate him.''

38-year-old Gerard Scott, from Poleglass, was at Woodbourne RUC barracks following a drink driving incident when he was told there were two men at Grosvenor Road barracks who wanted to speak to him. ``I thought they wanted to breathalyse me,'' said Scott. At Grosvenor Road, Scott was taken to an interview room by two plainclothes men, one of whom spoke with an English accent. The two men questioned him about a well known West Belfast republican. ``I told them I'd heard of him but didn't know him but they said I must do and told me they would give me £5,000 for setting him up.'' Frightened and ``eager to get home'', Gerard ``agreed wholeheartedly'', promising to return the following day to discuss the matter further.

When Scott failed to keep the appointment, the family was subjected to a series of telephone calls and a visit by RUC officers with a sniffer dog. The RUC phoned over 30 times in a 24 hour period. ``They just kept ringing. I told them to leave us alone but they wouldn't go away.'' The father of five, who is already recieving medical treatment for depression, now feels under intense pressure from the RUC. He attempted to take his own life. Fortunately his suicide attempt was interrupted when his wife, Julie, returned home unexpectedly.

Sinn Fein Councillor Alex Maskey said Gerard Scott's story was not an isolated incident. ``This is the third time in two months individuals in West Belfast have been approached by the RUC and asked to help set up the same republican,'' Maskey said.

In a further recruitment attempt by the RUC, a 42-year-old father of three from County Tyrone was approached by the RUC and offered £1,000 to ``uncover an AK47 in Kildress and provide information about who was involved in Teebane''. The man was also offered a weekly £100 ``to keep an eye on'' named people.
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