6 November 1997 Edition
Fears over Britain's security agenda
Gerry Adams met British Security Minister Adam Ingram this week about recent targeting of nationalists by loyalists, continuing militarisation of nationalist areas and collusion.
Patrolling patterns of British forces in nationalist areas, continuing overt and covert surveillance, the construction and reconstruction of military fortifications and Crown force harassment of nationalists has an ``eroding impact on the peace process,'' Adams told Ingram. ``In my view the only armed group in cessation at this time is the IRA,'' said Adams. ``The securocrats within the NIO continue to pursue a security agenda. This is extremely dangerous at a time when we are seeking to negotiate a democratic peace settlement.'' Adams described the British Minister's response as ``not good'' and called on the British to decide ``whether there is to be a new political agenda which places the demands of peace above the old failed agenda of security.''
The Stormont meeting took place following news that the car number plate of a Sinn Fein councillor was found in a raid in the Shankill and a number of individuals have been recently informed by the RUC that their lives are at risk from loyalist death squads. ``In recent weeks, more than twenty people have come forward to say they have been informed by the RUC that their lives are in danger. There may be many more, said Adams. ``Some of those contacted are members of Sinn Fein, a number are Sinn Fein Councillors but others are nationalists with no links with our party.''
Describing the current situation as ``serious'', Gerry Adams said he raised a number of issues with the British minister. ``I put it to the Minister that people informed by the RUC that their lives are in danger have not been given any details about the information held by loyalists.'' People under threat need to know if the information includes their home address, place of work, car registration etc. ``Citizens should be given the maximum information about the threat to their lives,'' said Adams, ``and I am pleased to say that the minister accepted this point.'' Adams urged all those who have been told by the RUC that their names are on loyalist death lists to contact their solicitor immediately to seek from the RUC all the details which they hold on these threats. Ingram also promised to investigate recent cases of possible collusion.
In recent years over 2,000 nationalists have been told that Crown force files containing their personal details or information about them was in the possession of loyalist death squads. Collusion between the British army/RUC and loyalist paramilitaries, suspected by nationalists for many years, was finally exposed following the loyalist murder of Loughlin Maginn in August 1989. After the murder, crown force files containing Maginn's details were posted on a wall by his killers. After a series of media revelations, the RUC gradually admitted hundreds, if not thousands, of files were ``missing'' and in the hands of loyalist death squads.
Systematic Crown force collusion became a matter of public record during the trial of British agent Brian Nelson. Working through Nelson, British Intelligence rearmed, reorganised and selected targets for the UDA.
Car with councillor's number in Shankill
Sinn Fein in Belfast are warning natinalists to be extremely vigilant after a car with false number plates matching those of Lisburn Sinn Fein councillor Sue Ramsey turned up in the Tennents Street area of the Shankill Road.
According to Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey, ``this mirrors previous tactics where loyalists have attempted to assassinate leading republicans using falsely registered cars to freely enter nationalist areas''.
Maskey put the incident into ``the context of the recent split within the CLMC, subsequent attacks within loyalist areas and the continuing targeting of Sinn Fein activists, including Gerry Adams last month.''
He also said that recently the RUC have visited men in the Springhill area of West Belfast warning them that loyalists have their details.
•A mother of three from the Markets was approached while at Musgrave RUC barracks on 1 November. The woman was asked to attend a city centre meeting. Later that weekend, while out drinking, she was approached and asked to go to a party. Once there she was offered drugs and questioned by an unknown man who knew her personal details. The woman contacted Sinn Fein's Sean Hayes and gave the details to her solicitor.