IRA double agent 'Stakeknife' has not fled Belfast, says Sinn Fein

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The repercussions of the Stakeknife affair continued to reverberate through Belfast yesterday with conflicting claims on the whereabouts of the republican said to have been a high-ranking army agent within the IRA.

The repercussions of the Stakeknife affair continued to reverberate through Belfast yesterday with conflicting claims on the whereabouts of the republican said to have been a high-ranking army agent within the IRA.

Security sources continued to assert with confidence that the man named as Stakeknife, Freddie Scappaticci, had been spirited out of the country on Sunday after being named in newspapers as an army spy.

But the Sinn Fein representative Gerry Kelly said yesterday afternoon that while the party had not been in direct contact with the man, his family had contacted Sinn Fein.

He added: "They said that the man is not in custody and has not left Belfast and we advise the family to go to a solicitor, and indeed Freddie Scappaticci to go to a solicitor, and to make a public statement on the volume of allegations over the weekend."

Speaking after five o'clock another Sinn Fein representative, Arthur Morgan added: "I hear now that the person alleged to be so-called Stakeknife was in touch with Sinn Fein this afternoon, is at home eating his dinner as we speak. So I'm just wondering who's putting out these stories and where they are coming from."

Freddie Scappaticci, a stalwart of the republican movement in its west Belfast heartlands for decades, has been named as Stakeknife, the army agent who, for years, provided huge amounts of information to military intelligence. Stakeknife's role in illegalities including murder have raised questions on whether the army allowed some killings to protect his identity. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stevens, who is inquiring into security force collusion in murders and other illegality, has said he fears that other informers had been sacrificed to save him.

Bertie Ahern, the Taoiseach, said yesterday those were serious allegations he would raise with the British Government. Calling them the latest in a long list of allegations of collusion, he added: "We certainly will be expressing our concerns and raising the issues again as I always do."

Sammy Wilson,a Democratic Unionist Policing Board member, rounded on nationalist critics of the Army, saying: "The war against the IRA was never easy and the measures used were never going to be clear cut. However, one thing we do know is that the result of using informers and agents was that nine out of ten terrorist attacks were thwarted. For this we all ought to be thankful."

Police, meanwhile, said that a letterbomb device delivered to offices of the Ulster Unionist Party could have caused serious injuries had it properly gone off. The device, addressed to David Trimble, the party leader,was opened by an office worker who dropped it when flames shot out of the package.

A party spokesman said: "A few people have been shaken a bit but nobody has been hurt. We are back in business. Politics and political life goes on."

Comments