Presence of undercover officer ‘known to Gardaí’

GARDA bosses will admit in a report to Justice Minister Brendan Smith that they knew about the presence of a British undercover police officer here.

Mark Kennedy was a deep-cover agent who infiltrated environmental groups in Ireland, Britain and Germany for seven years, since 2003.

A number of activists here have told the Irish Examiner he encouraged and took part in illegal activity during protests in Dublin, Shannon Airport and at the site of the controversial Shell-Corrib pipeline.

During his double-life in Ireland his two children and his now estranged wife lived in her home village near Kanturk, Co Cork.

The Kennedy case has convulsed the British media and police since he was publicly uncovered earlier this month.

Investigations into the officer are now being carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in England, with Nottinghamshire Police conducting an internal review.

The Department of Justice has repeatedly told the Irish Examiner — the first paper here to report the case — it had “no information” about it.

It has emerged that senior Garda intelligence officers — attached to the Crime and Security Branch — had known all along about Mr Kennedy after being informed by the British Metropolitan Police.

Crime and Security did not inform local senior gardaí in the areas where Kennedy was active for fear of blowing his cover.

It is not known if Garda intelligence chiefs were fed any information by the Met in return for letting him operate here.

Environmental activists here have claimed that at the May 2004 EU summit protests then PC Kennedy took a lead role, breaking into a building on Dublin’s northside to be used as a base for visiting British anarchists.

They say he also brought a van from Britain containing crash helmets and offered to purchase broom handles to be used against gardaí.

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