30 April 1998 Edition

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RUC entrapment strategy intact

A series of attempts by the RUC to entrap nationalists in Lurgan have led Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd to call on the NIO to rein in ``this discredited force''.

Over the past month the RUC have targeted a number of people in the North Armagh town, three of whom gave their stories to An Phoblacht. Others, although they reported the recruitment attempts, did not wish to publicise the approaches.

The latest recruitment attempt occurred last Monday 20 April when two RUC members arrived at the home of a 27 year old single man. Dressed in civilian clothes the RUC men told the young man that they could help out as ``you are in a lot of trouble''.

They were referring to an incident which happened a couple of weeks earlier when the RUC raided the man's home and claimed to have found ammunition and a two way radio.

However, the man said that his home had been raided on the Wednesday before the Good Friday document was signed.

At 8.30am the British army searched his garden and shed and left after giving the man a form saying nothing had been found.

At 10.30am a second search, this time carried by British soldiers accompanied by an RUC member was carried out. Again the crown forces left saying everything was in order.

However at 1.30pm, when the man arrived home, the crown forces had broken into his home to carry out a third raid.

An RUC man told him ammunition and shotgun cartridges had been found and showed him plastic bags continuing gloves. The RUC man claimed the ammunition was in the gloves, however the man did not see the bullets. The RUC man did show the man a walkie-talkie and claimed he could arrest him for having it. However the set is legal and the RUC didn't pursue the issue.

When the RUC arrived at the man's house last Monday they threatened him on the basis that charges might be laid against him for possession of ammunition and said they could help him.

One of the RUC members said the man could reach him at Lurgan RUC barracks and gave the name Harry.

This Harry has over the past months been carrying on a campaign to recruit nationalists as informers and was behind two other recent attempts.

In the first of these the RUC ordered a 30 year old married man to go to Lurgan barracks after he was stopped at a checkpoint. The RUC may have used this as initial contact as it was Harry who dealt with the man when he went there.

Two weeks later the man's car was stolen and wrecked. Credit cards were stolen and £400 taken from a cash machine. As a result he had to contact the RUC. Again he ended up dealing with Harry who offered to help him and give him money.

Harry said he was investigating the death of Kevin Conway and would be interested if the man could give him any information. At this the man got up and left the interview room.

As the man was leaving Harry asked him if he worked as a bouncer in a nearby disco and warned him to ``watch out for those fringe loyalists''..

The man works at a disco that has in the past been targeted by loyalists so he took the RUC man's question as a threat.

In the third approach a man going home from work was held at an RUC checkpoint. The RUC brought the man from his own car to an RUC vehicle. A plainclothes RUC man asked the man to ``help us'', and gave him the name of a leading local republican and asked for information about him. The man refused and left the RUC car.

``I'm not involved in anything and I don't want to be involved in anything'', the man told An Phoblacht. ``I told the RUC that as well and I want to have nothing to do with them''.

All three men who talked to An Phoblacht reported the incidents to a solicitor.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1