EX-Provos operate on Continent

EX-Provos operate on Continent
10 July 2011
The Sunday Life

Dissident republicans have strong links to the continent and use established gun-running networks to bring arms into Northern Ireland.  The terrorists involved in smuggling the weapons are mostly all former Provos who were active in the 1980s.  Back then the IRA shipped huge quantities of guns and explosives into Northern Ireland from Europe.

A key player in this murky business was Lurgan man Paul McCaugherty.  The 44-year-old quit the Provos after decommissioning and joined the Real IRA.  Last year McCaugherty was jailed for 20 years for trying to smuggle weapons into Northern Ireland.  He told an undercover MI5 officer who he thought was an arms dealer that he wanted to buy guns and explosives.  The dissident boss met the spy on six different occasions in places like Amsterdam, Bruges and Istanbul.

Convicted alongside him was self-confessed agent Dermot Declan Gregory from Crossmaglen.  He was found guilty of buying a restaurant in Portugal with the intention of selling it on and giving the proceeds to the Real IRA.

Suspected Real IRA man Michael Campbell is currently on trial in Lithuania charged with trying to buy weapons.  The 36-year-old -- a brother of suspected Omagh bomber Liam Campbell -- allegedly handed thousands of euros to an undercover Lithuanian agent posing as a weapons supplier, in returns for guns and ammunition.

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