IRA tried to kill security forces 'every day', says British agent

A British agent who infiltrated the IRA revealed there was not a day when the terror group was not trying to kill a member of the security forces.

A British agent who infiltrated the IRA revealed there "wasn't a day" when the terror group was not trying to kill a member of the security forces.

Peter Keeley, who is also known as Kevin Fulton, told a tribunal into alleged Garda-IRA collusion in Ireland that he was recruited for intelligence shortly after he joined the British Army in 1980.

He said he first started putting names to faces in photographs taken from dole queues in his home town of Newry before he was given false discharge papers from the army so he could begin infiltrating the terror republican group.

Giving evidence at the Dublin inquiry behind a screen to protect his identity, the 51-year-old said the republican group did not just make bombs.

"They shot people and targeted people," he said.

"There wasn't a day they weren't trying to kill a member of the security forces."

The Smithwick Tribunal is investigating allegations of Garda collusion over the IRA murders of senior RUC officers Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan on the Irish border in 1989, minutes after a Garda meeting.

Allegations by Mr Keeley that retired Dundalk-based Detective Garda Sergeant Owen Corrigan had assisted the IRA led to the establishment of the tribunal in 2005.

Mr Corrigan and two other named gardaí, former sergeants Leo Colton and Finbarr Hickey, all deny any collusion.

Mr Keeley told Judge Peter Smithwick he became very good friends with convicted IRA bomb-maker Patrick "Mooch" Blair in 1982/83.

"His reputation was that of an IRA man, it would have been an inroad. He took me under his wing," said Mr Keeley.

The former British agent was jailed for two years for his role in a smuggling operation before being finally 'green booked' by the IRA in the mid-1980s by an unidentified member (known as Man A in the tribunal) and Mooch.

Mr Keeley revealed he helped out with the terror group's notorious internal security unit, driving suspected informers to two properties for interrogation, but denied ever taking part in them. He also claimed Freddie Scappaticci and the late John Joe Magee were in the internal security unit.

"They (suspects) would be arrested, blindfolded, sometimes cable tied - the guy in the back would always have a pair of scissors in case we were stoppered, it would be a snip, and their hands would be free," he continued.

Interrogators also used voice stress analysers, like polygraph, Mr Keeley added.

He said he was later taught by Mooch to make fire bombs and mercury tilt switch bombs.

While always made in the Republic, particularly in Dundalk and Omeath, they were sent north - but Mr Keeley stressed he did not know where the bombs he helped make were detonated.

Mr Keeley told the tribunal that by the early 1990s he wanted out because he was stressed after a couple of incidents went wrong.

He took a job at Disneyland Paris where he got a post painting movies and the Big Thunder Mountain ride.

"I wasn't there too long and newspaper stories appeared 'IRA gang was in Euro Disney'," he added.

"We lost our jobs."

He claimed the tip-off to the Sunday Express came from the security forces.

"I was trying to rebuild my life... It was to drag me back in," he added.

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