Dissident republican plotter put in isolation

2 July 2010 
Maurice Fitzmaurice

A DISSIDENT republican who took part in a plot to buy arms for the Real IRA has been put in an isolation cell while he awaits sentencing, it emerged last night.

Dermot Declan Gregory, aka Michael Dermot Gregory, from Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, was found guilty on Wednesday of making a restaurant available for a gang that was trying to buy assault rifles and rocket launchers.

But Gregory, 41, was snared along with Paul McCaugherty, from Lurgan, Co Armagh because the men they were dealing with were MI5 agents.

Prison sources told the Daily Mirror Gregory was moved yesterday evening to Maghaberry jail's special supervision unit.

The move comes after the MP for Newry and Armagh, Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy said he believed Gregory was working for MI5 to "manipulate" the Real IRA.

He added: "There is a widely held belief in Armagh that Mr Gregory has been controlling, manipulating and directing the activities of the RIRA in this area for many years at the behest of MI5."

Mr Murphy said Gregory "who had no previous association with Irish republicanism, agreed to assume the role of an agent provocateur" after being arrested over an offence that the authorities "did not proceed with".

He added: "The case of Mr Gregory confirms what Sinn Fein have been saying for sometime with regard to these dissident gangs.

"In addition to many of them containing known criminals and informers within their ranks there has been a long-held view the hidden hand of antipeace process British state agencies are at work."

On Wednesday the judge said "there is no evidence that he [Gregory] was compelled to" use the restaurant for the deal.

The trial heard how the wannabe Real IRA arms procurer was duped as he was wined and dined by a British Secret Service Agent in Amsterdam, Bruges and Istanbul.

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