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How FRU got IRA to murder top sniper

(by Greg Harkin, Sunday People)

Nobody in the Republican Movement in Derry could believe it. Paddy Flood? An informer?

Surely not the same Paddy Flood who just happened to be the best bomb-maker in the Provisional IRA and 'not bad' with a sniper's rifle.

The truth is much more frightening.

Paddy Flood left his home in early June 1990 'to do a message'. Seven weeks later his mutilated body was discovered along a Border road near Newtownhamilton. He had been 'executed' by PIRA for being an informer. He was hooded and gagged with his hands tied. He had been shot in the head.

The Force Research Unit had pulled off one of its biggest ever coups in Derry.

Flood was the IRA's top bomb-maker in the North West. In 1989 one of his devices killed two soldiers in Derry.

FRU officers wanted him dead but to 'take him out' was not an option. Shoot-to-kill was highly dangerous politically and would only hand a propaganda coup to the Provos. So the FRU used a tactic so often used in Belfast before. One former agent confirmed: "It was simple really.

"If you wanted a player out of the way and you could get him whacked by his own people you were on to a winner.

"FRU tricked the Provos into killing Paddy Flood by helping to point the finger of suspicion at him."

They used their agents - some sources say one, others now say as many as three - inside the IRA to convince the Derry brigade that Flood was a Special Branch informer. Agents even tampered with Flood's bombs to heighten suspicions.

Flood's family has always denied he was an informer. Last year one senior republican source in the city told us: "Many of us now accept Paddy was clean.

"We now also know it may have all been set up. But we were never able to find out by whom.

June 25, 2002

This article appeared in the June 23, 2002 edition of the Sunday People.