4 November 1999 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Spy chief embarrasses unionists

Unionist politicians have been embarrassed this week by a newspaper article by former MI6 director Michael Oatley accusing the Ulster Unionist Party and British Conservative politicians of using decommissioning as a pretext to disengage from the peace process.

In an article in the British newspaper The Sunday Times, Michael Oatley says that the arms decommissioning issue is irrelevant and accuses unionists of using it to prevent political progress, to bring down the Good Friday Agreement, and to provoke the IRA.

He also admits that loyalist mobs, inflamed by figures such as Ian Paisley, carried out ethnic cleansing against nationalists in Belfast in 1969.

Oatley, who is now a private security consultant, also told the Guardian newspaper this week that ``decommissioning is not the real issue.

``The IRA has the support and can always get the weapons.''

The British media, he said, is not focusing on loyalist groups ``and they have not decommissioned''.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1