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30 July 1998 Edition

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RUC informer recruitment fails

An Ardoyne mother has been approached by the RUC who tried to recruit her to inform on republicans in the area.

Eimear Harrison said the approach was made when she visited Oldpark RUC station to deal with a relative's motoring offence. Harrison, who works in a taxi depot in the Ardoyne area, told An Phoblacht that the RUC told her that the whole matter ``could be swept under the carpet'' if he passed on information about some of the taxi drivers and other republicans in her area. The RUC also asked her about her job, her wages and about her boyfriend and members of her family but when Harrison refused to pass on information she was warned that the conversation was to go no further.

The RUC have refused to comment on this specific case but in a general policy statement said, ``Police require information and ultimately evidence if they are to be successful in protecting life and property.''

Harrison was visibly shaken by the incident and said it had made her fearful and paranoid. Sinn Fein councillor Michael Brown accused the RUC of picking on vulnerable people and working to a military agenda. ``I would appeal to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation to approach any member of Sinn Fein to let us know.''

In Fermanagh there has been several attempts made by the RUC and British Intelligence services to recruit informants from within the nationalist community. A number of young people have been offered substantial sums of money or were assured that charges against them would be dropped if they passed on information about republicans in the area.

Fermanagh Sinn Fein Councillor, Brian McCaffrey, said ``These incidents call into question the commitment of not only the RUC and Intelligence Services but also the British Government to the Peace Process. These are not the actions of those who are working for peace. They are the actions of those who are planning to make war.''

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