At least three Garda officers in the scandal-hit force in Donegal were
secret agents for British military intelligence, The Irish People can
Garda Special Branch detectives have launched a secret probe into finding
the to date un-named moles who supplied intelligence on IRA suspects
directly to the shadowy British Army outfit, the Force Research Unit.
The officers were paid for their work for the British side - but always
claimed they carried out the work to help defeat the Provos at a time when
it was claimed that some Garda officers weren't doing all they could to
stop the IRA.
We understand that a secret team of Branch detectives have now been tasked
with finding those moles.
The probe comes after the Morris Tribunal slammed two senior Garda officers
for faking arms finds in order to boost their careers in the 1990s.
Detective Garda Noel McMahon is to be asked to resign by Garda Commissioner
He and Superintendent Kevin Lennon had been suspended during the inquiry by
Mr Justice Morris into allegations of corruption and now face being booted
off the force.
It now also seems likely that Lennon could also find himself out of a job -
the Government will decide his future in September.
They may also face perjury charges after the judge said he was satisfied
'that their evidence is so contradictory and unbelievable that it comprises
a tissue of lies'.
A number of other officers were cleared of any involvement in corruption
but were severely criticised on other matters.
Last night (Saturday), however, The Irish People learned of the startling new
It is understood the first objective will be to officially rule out any
foreign dimension in the Lennon/McMahon affair.
The bogus arms finds caused confusion in the ranks of the IRA at the time
because quarter masters of local units knew the explosives didn't belong to
The Provos conducted a number of inquiries and we understand they concluded
the 'finds' were the work of an official Garda dirty tricks operation
designed specifically to hit IRA morale.
The special Garda unit set up to probe British moles in the force has a
number of suspects.
They have been going through the personal finances of several officers with
a fine tooth comb.
One source told The Irish People: "They know how far a Garda salary can
stretch so they are looking at bank statements going back years and
comparing it to the lifestyles of officers, asking questions about foreign
holidays, cars and homes.
"They are looking at those who might have had that little bit more than a
Garda income would normally allow."
The source went on: "It is reckoned that at least three Garda officers
worked for the security forces in Northern Ireland, specifically the Force
"There is also an acceptance that officers who did help the British may
have done so for very good reasons - that is, the defeat of the IRA along
"Nevertheless, it is a source of deep embarrassment and of course it would
be illegal for a Garda to pass information unofficially to a force in a
different jurisdiction, whatever the intent.
"Senior officers are furious that they were targeted for penetration by the
British security services.
"And they know now that they were penetrated, not just in Donegal but in
other counties along the border."
Justice Minister Michael McDowell has been kept informed of the moles
It's known that Garda officers working for the British security services
would have received large cash rewards.
The Irish People understands that in the late 1980s and early 1990s the FRU
rated Garda officers at the top end of the payments scale.
An officer providing regular information on republicans could expect at
least £200 per week as a retainer.
He would then get substantial cash bonuses of anything up to £5,000 for top
On average, Garda officers working for the FRU could bring in an extra
£25k to £40k on top of their salary.
Responsibility for hiding that cash so as not to arouse suspicions rested
with the informers - but the FRU would often help set up foreign bank
accounts that couldn't be traced by the Irish authorities.
"Generally they knew the score better than most because they were
themselves intelligence operators but they did spend a lot of the cash on
things like home improvements, plots of land, cars and holidays," said one
Meanwhile, republican sources in Derry claimed the IRA knew a decade ago
that there was 'some sort of dirty tricks' campaign inside the Donegal
A senior republican told The Irish People: "We knew a lot of these finds
were just bollocks: that the gear didn't belong to us or to anyone else.
"We concluded fairly quickly that it was some sort of operation to create
confusion inside republican ranks."
Mr Justice Morris's damning 500-page report has rocked the force throughout
the country and has, once again, focused attention on the need for a new
independent Garda Ombudsman, which will be set up once the new Garda Bill
is passed by the Oireachtas.
At least four senior Gardai are expected to be dismissed or resign as a
result of corruption.
Late on Friday the Morris Tribunal claimed its first major casualty when
former Chief Superintendent Denis Fitzpatrick revealed he was retiring.
FBI-trained Fitzpatrick had been tipped by many Garda insiders to one day
become Ireland's top cop.
The Morris Tribunal have sent Supt Lennon a copy of the 500 page report and
invited him to respond to its findings.
Last night a senior Garda officer close to the inquiry suggested that this
was only the beginning of the clear-out.
"Two very senior officers have gone and many in the know feel a number of
others will follow.
"There is a lot more evidence to come and this is only Justice Morris'
"There was no way that heads weren't going to roll - these were some of the
most serious allegations ever made against any police force anywhere in the
"The thought of top Gardai planting explosives to give them a career boost
is stuff that you read in spy novels.
"One day the full truth behind what really happened in Donegal will be made
"But by that stage any officer involved will have retired or will have been
booted out of the force in disgrace," said the source.