Sinn Fein asks if Mowlam ordered bugging

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The Independent Online
SINN FEIN is still seeking answers from the Government about who sanctioned the bugging of a car used by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness during their talks with the IRA, a party spokesman said yesterday.

Security sources were quoted as saying that the minister signed a warrant which would only have contained the name of the car's owner and would not have indicated whether Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness were using it.

The spokesman said last night: "Gerry Adams has put very specific questions to the British Prime Minister and the British Government. Those are: who was responsible for authorising the bug? How was it done? If it was a political decision, who was responsible? What are they prepared to do about all the other bugs?"

"We think those should be removed immediately because if we are in a new political dispensation, if we are talking about a fresh start, then you have got to go about removing this equipment to enable people to start afresh."

The Sinn Fein spokesman was speaking on the eve of another big day for Northern Ireland's new executive, with the inaugural meeting of the North- South Ministerial Council involving the Irish government to take place in Armagh today.

The summit will usher in new north-south structures for closer co-operation between both governments on a range of issues. Irish Premier Bertie Ahern played down the row over the bugging of Sinn Fein's car. Asked on the BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme if the bugging would be "a problem" at today's meeting, Mr Ahern replied: "No I don't think so. I think we have to try to move away from the security situation."