Convicted IRA bomb-maker 'was also secret informer'

A British agent who infiltrated the IRA has claimed today that a convicted bomb-maker was also a secret informer.

A British agent who infiltrated the IRA has claimed today that a convicted bomb-maker was also a secret informer.

Peter Keeley told a tribunal into alleged Garda-IRA collusion that one-time Omagh bomb suspect Patrick "Mooch" Blair was working for authorities north or south of the border.

Mr Keeley, who is also known as Kevin Fulton, has also alleged Freddie Scappaticci was in the IRA's notorious internal security unit and was the British agent known as Stakeknife.

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, minutes after a Garda meeting.

Surrounded by plain clothes armed gardaí, Mr Keeley gave evidence for a third day in Dublin behind a screen to protect his identity.

He said two days before the Omagh bomb Mr Blair smelled of diesel and bomb-making ingredients - and that after the blast he tried specifically to target Mr Blair, but every avenue was thwarted by the police.

"I came to the conclusion he walked on water, so more or less an agent," said Mr Keeley.

Mr Keeley said after an elaborate sting to catch Mr Blair selling £10m of stolen Viagra tablets was stopped his MI5 handlers said they could not speak to him anymore.

"For many years I was an agent, a tout, an informer, so I was protected by the people I worked for," he said.

"When you're in it you don't see the patterns. But when you step away from it, it's very obvious. It actually stands out."

Under cross-examination a barrister for Mr Scappaticci, a Belfast republican who denies being the agent known as Stakeknife, accused Mr Keeley of wanting to remain in the public eye.

"Your client went to the papers saying 'I'm not an informer and I'm not Stakeknife'," said Mr Keeley.

"In actual fact, he is an informer and he is 'Stakeknife'."

Mr Keeley said despite working as an artist and putting his work on the internet, he just wanted to disappear.

“I do not want to be in the papers at all. I just want to disappear like everyone else. I am sure there are some people who could arrange it,” he said.

During heated exchanges with Martin O’Rourke SC, Mr Keeley threatened to sue the barrister’s legal team for illegally downloading a photograph of him from the internet.

He confirmed he had also sought £5,000 (€5,951) from a newspaper for using the same photograph, and had contacted Warner Brothers over reports a movie was being made on his life called 'Infiltrator', possibly starring Leonardo DiCaprio. He had claimed he had copyright over his own life and the project never went ahead.

Mr Keeley is also taking legal action against the Northern Ireland Office and Police Service of Northern Ireland, among others, for breach of contract and breaching its duty of care by not giving him a new identity and resettlement package.

Mr O’Rourke accused Mr Keeley of being driven by money.

“Do you work for nothing sir?” he replied. “I am not driven by money. I’m here at this tribunal and I’m not getting paid.”

“Are you?” he asked the barrister.

Mr Keeley (aged 51) has previously claimed a “friend” of the IRA – who he alleges was retired Dundalk-based Detective Garda Sergeant Owen Corrigan – had tipped off the IRA that Mr Breen and Mr Buchanan were in Dundalk the day they were ambushed, March 20, 1989.

He also alleged the same friend destroyed evidence from the Narrow Water bomb attack, cleaned fingerprints from a 1,000lb bomb in Omeath and had told volunteers Tom Oliver was an informer.

Two months later, in July 1991, the Co Louth farmer was kidnapped and murdered.

Mr Corrigan has strenuously denied the allegations of collusion, which he has called a monstrous lie.

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