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20 May 1999 Edition

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British agent bankrolling FAIT?

British agent Martin McGartland has made a £2,000 donation to the British government-funded FAIT organisation, according to information An Phoblacht has received.

And according to our information, the organisation is, for the second time in recent months, being said to be ``looking at allegations of misappropriation of government funds''.

Information received by An Phoblacht reveals that money claimed by FAIT for employees' tax and insurance payments, ``was never paid''.

The Central Community Relations Committee (CCRU), the NIO-based funding organisation that controls FAIT's budget, and the Inland Revenue are now trying to establish where this money has gone. Martin McGartland, a self-confessed RUC agent, is said to have made the donation to the organisation to replace this missing money.

A First Trust bank statement we have confirms that a £2,000 lodgement was made into FAIT's bank account on April 13 this year, and Vincent McKenna, a former spokesperson for the group, confirmed that McGartland had given money to FAIT. McKenna added that he left FAIT because of McGartland's involvment with the group.

Among the allegations made are that members of the FAIT management team went on an all expenses paid trip to North Africa while workers went, ``without dinner money''.

An Phoblacht contacted Denis Ritchie of the CCRU, who said that while FAIT had ``a chequered career'', he knew nothing of these latest allegations. He advised us to contact the NIO Press Office, who only said they were ``not aware of any irregularities''. Sam Cushnahan, FAIT's director and one of those who went on the North African trip, also said he knew nothing of the allegations and said that McGartland did not make any donations to FAIT to cover up missing funds.

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