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12 March 1998 Edition

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MI5 target student in England.

By Mick Naughton.

A BELFAST postgraduate student in England has been targeted in a crude attempt by British Military Intelligence to recruit agents.

Andersonstown man Michael Maguire, currently studying in Sheffield, was first approached by two men last year in London. They claimed to be from MI5.

The pair suggested ``a business proposition.'' It was clear what was going on and he immediately contacted a Belfast law firm who contacted a British Irish human rights group.

But recently there have been more approaches in Sheffield from men believed to be members of the RUC Special Branch.

Maguire explained how things have developed.

``Last year I had the approach from MI5. I told them I wasn't interested in talking to them and I haven't seen them since. But a few weeks ago two men with northern Irish accents called to my house. They said they were from the RUC and pushed their way in.

``Fortunately there was another fella in the house and after I told them to say what they wanted, they backed off.

``They told me to meet them in a pub the next day. I did not go, but instead contacted my lawyer and reported the incident to the university.''

However, within day's another two men, also Irish, walked up and reminded him of the earlier RUC contact.

Following this Maguire logged the incidents with police in Sheffield, which prompted a change of tactics. He got phone calls from men with northern Irish accents telling him he had `a lot to lose,' including his university place.

The Irish government is now pressing for information on the incidents through the inter governmental Secretariat at Maryfield outside Belfast. Maguire is perplexed about why he has been targeted.

``It might be because I am isolated here, with very few close friends who I might go for a pint with. But I want to expose these people and get them off my back and hopefully by going public their activities will cease.''
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