Secret agent Raymond Gilmour who infiltrated IRA to become supergrass accuses MI5 of abandoning him to a life of mental anguish
Belfast-born David McKittrick has been reporting on Northern Ireland since 1971, He has written for the East Antrim Times, the Irish Times and was The Independent's Irish correspondent for many years. He is the author of several books including Making Sense of the Troubles (2000) and Lost Lives (1999).
Tuesday 09 October 2012
A one-time police agent who passed on information about the IRA has surfaced in England with claims that MI5 have left him destitute and failed to protect him against republicans.
Raymond Gilmour was an agent within the ranks of the IRA who in the early 1980s turned “supergrass,” giving evidence in court against dozens of defendants. All were freed when his testimony was rejected by a judge as unreliable.
He was spirited away from his home city of Londonderry and has since been living under a secret identity. He has now emerged in the south-east of England to accuse the intelligence services of breaking an agreement to pay him half a million pounds.
Although more than two decades have passed, he remains a particular hate figure among republicans in Londonderry where graffiti once warned that he would “be got, sooner or later.” Three years ago he was named on a death list issued by the Real IRA.
Gilmour told the BBC: “I brought the IRA to their knees in Derry and I saved countless lives. I am living on a knife-edge because of my mental health. I have no financial stability, which I was promised - I have nothing.”
Saying he suffered from alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder, he described himself as “totally paranoid” about being tracked down by republicans, saying that he kept a gun by his bed.
He MDBOclaimed his MI5 handlers promised him half a million pounds, a new home, psychiatric support and a pension. But he said he received only 600 pounds a month for three years, and was not provided with a job.
He is to lodge a complaint with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which examines complaints against the intelligence services. The Northern Ireland Office meanwhile said the policy of successive governments was not to comment on whether an individual was or had been an agent.
Dozens and possibly scores of security force agents, including supergrasses, have been re-located abroad for many years after their activities were exposed.
Some of these have never been heard of again, but two who returned to Ireland and attempted to live quietly were brutally murdered.
A number have also gone to the media to complain that financial and other promises made to them were not honoured. These include Gilmour himself, who has on several occasions complained to newspapers that he is broke and was being denied psychiatric treatment.
Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley Jr said he had sympathy for anyone who had risked their life and then had the government fail to protect them.
He said: “An agent who worked for the government in the dirtiest war ever this side of Kosovo should be protected and given his contractual obligations.”
Prominent republican Danny Morrison said of Gilmour: “There will be no love lost for him, no sympathy for him and it doesn't come unexpected that when MI5 are finished with people they discard them.”
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