Dozens of MI5 agents to testify in Real IRA trial

23 October 2009
Intelligence News
Ian Allen

Over 30 agents of MI5, Britain’s primary domestic intelligence agency, will be anonymously giving evidence at a scheduled trial of three men arrested in connection with a Real IRA international gun smuggling operation.

The men, Paul Anthony John McCaugherty, Dermot Declan Gregory, and Desmond Paul Kearns, all from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, were arrested after a yearlong infiltration operation by MI5, involving the use of informants and surveillance equipment.

The latter resulted in nearly 90 hours of recorded conversations, which the court said will take “months to transcribe”. Additionally, 35 MI5 agents have so far applied to give evidence in court, their identity concealed behind screens.

The activities of the three IRA men were reportedly monitored in Holland, where they tried to raise money and purchase weapons with the intention of smuggling them into Northern Ireland.

The upcoming trial, which is expected to begin in April and last three months, will be the second court case involving IRA weapons smuggling activities in recent months.

Last August, Irishman Michael Campbell, brother of Real IRA commander Liam Campbell, was indicted in Vilnius, Lithuania, for attempting to buy weapons for the Real IRA in the former Soviet Republic. The case marked Lithuania’s first-ever terrorist trial.

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