18 July 2002 Edition

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McNamara calls for curbs on MI5

British Labour MP and former Opposition Six-County spokesperson Kevin McNamara has hit out at unlawful activities of intelligence agencies in Ireland and called for a new regime to bring agents within the rule of law.

He was speaking in the House of Commons in a government-sponsored debate on the annual report of the Intelligence Services Committee on Thursday 11 July.

McNamara, a member of British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body and chair of the Agreed Ireland Forum, complained that the plethora of agencies engaged in intelligence gathering operations meant that Parliament could not be certain where subterfuge begins and ends, how deeply agent penetration goes, or what the objectives of the agencies are at any particular time.

He demanded that the Minister responsible explain what body is in control of intelligence operations and what is its relationship to the Special Branch and the PSNI.

Citing allegations of unlawful British intelligence involvement in the assassination of solicitor Patrick Finucane and the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, he sought agreement from the government that it would cooperate fully with judicial investigations.

McNamara demanded an assurance that the intelligence services are barred from recruiting child agents or child informers. He repeated allegations that a paedophile ring at Kincora Boys Home in Belfast was protected in order to preserve intelligence sources.

McNamara called for a fundamentally new approach that would bring all the activities of the Intelligence Agencies within the rule of law and in compliance with the government's obligations towards the protection of human rights.

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