INLA informer admits receiving pounds 400,000

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AN MI5 informer admitted to a court yesterday that he received pounds 400,000 from the Security Service after the arrest of two alleged members of the Irish National Liberation Army, but denied acting as 'agent provocateur' in a plot to mount a bombing campaign.

Patrick Daly, 44, denied claims by defence counsel Rock Tansey QC, that MI5 had sent him on an illegal operation in the Republic of Ireland. Mr Tansey accused him of being 'a skilled liar'.

Mr Daly was giving evidence at the Old Bailey on the fourth day of the trial of Martin McMonagle, from Limerick, and Liam Heffernan, from Belfast, both 31, who deny conspiracy to cause explosions, conspiracy to steal explosives and possessing firearms with intent to endanger life.

The Crown has said that Mr Daly was a Special Branch informer on the IRA in the Bristol area from the mid-1970s until 1989 when he moved to Galway, in the Irish Republic, and became an MI5 agent.

A member of the political wing of INLA, he was said to have been asked to reconnoitre quarries in south-western England and find a safe house for an INLA team. Mr Daly reported back to MI5 and the two men in the dock were arrested at the chosen quarry.

Under close questioning from Mr Tansey, for Mr McMonagle, Mr Daly said that he had been paid pounds 80 to pounds 100 a month by Special Branch during the 1970s and one Christmas had received 'a few hundred pounds'. He received money for expenses and travel, which he said was 'a pittance'. When he stopped working for Special Branch in 1989, he received a payment of pounds 2,180. 'I don't think it was big money, I was risking my life,' he said.

Although Mr Daly claims he did not begin reporting back to MI5 until after he went to Galway in late 1989, Mr Tansey said that the defence had a Crown document showing he had been paid by MI5 during 1988 and 1989; he allegedly received pounds 100 a month, rising to pounds 250 a month and a cheque for expenses of pounds 3,595.

Mr Daly repeatedly said he could not recall receiving the payments. Accusations that he had been involved in an illegal MI5 operation as 'a spy and an agent provocateur' were 'complete and utter rubbish'.

Asked how much he had been paid since the arrests, he said: 'I have been reimbursed for my resettlement . . . approximately pounds 400,000.'

Suggestions by Mr Tansey that he had been a member of the IRA, had helped obtain lock-up garages to store IRA equipment, had taken part in robberies and had been involved in the theft of explosives from another quarry, were all denied by Mr Daly. He also denied helping in the shipment of arms and explosives to Ireland and helping the IRA to monitor the movements of a General Kitson.

The case continues.