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14 May 1998 Edition

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Another British bug exposed

Sinn Fein's Francie Molloy has reacted angrily to the finding of a sophisticated British surveillance device found by two Sinn Fein activists in their isolated Cappagh home in County Tyrone last Thursday 7 May.

Damien and Sharon Rafferty found the device containing two microphones, 168 batteries and a radio transmitter, as they fixed a leak in their roof space. As the two were removing the device, helicopters landed in an adjoining field and British soldiers attempted to recover the device. The actions of the soldiers, who although in uniform wore no insignia, were captured on camcorder.

As the British soldier approached the Rafferty's property neighbours filmed them with a camcorder. When they realised they were being filmed they retreated. Shortly after, a number of crown force road blocks went up around the area.

Similar devices were found in the past and were linked by transmitter to cameras. However, despite attempts by the Raffertys and neighbours to locate a camera, none was found.

Francie Molloy urged residents to search their homes as he fears there may be similar devices in other homes. The microphones were discovered leading to the spare bedroom and the living room of the house, while the massive battery pack was found in a hollowed out rafter. The transmitter was found between the felt and tiles.

Calling on British Ministers Mowlam and Ingram to remove all security surveillance equipment, he said, ``people's privacy has been invaded, their homes broken into and these devices planted. This would not have happened unless it had been sanctioned at the highest level.''

Damien Rafferty believes the device was in place since last October when he and his wife went on honeymoon.

The Cappagh man has now called on Direct Ruler Mowlam and Adam Ingram, her security minister, to explain why his house was ``invaded and our privacy violated''.

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An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
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