Inquiry begins into informer's claims

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE AUTHORITIES in Northern Ireland have begun an investigation into a former IRA informer's claim that he was allowed to take part in killings while working for the RUC Special Branch.

Declan 'Beano' Casey, made the claims in yesterday's Daily Mirror, with promises of further revelations to come. In what appears to be a highly perilous move, the former IRA man has returned to Northern Ireland knowing that his one-time associates will kill him if they can.

Casey, 38, fled Northern Ireland late last year after serving as a member of the IRA in Strabane, Co Tyrone for many years. He said that, since 1987, he had been a paid RUC informer, giving information which helped to save many lives. But he also claimed police allowed him to continue participating in IRA murders.

The newspaper reprinted false identity papers, including a passport, provided for Casey by the RUC after he left Northern Ireland. It also gives the address of the Nottingham house where he lived. Casey's family remained in Strabane and he said he had been unable to settle in England without them.

It is generally accepted that Casey was an informer, however, the allegation that he was allowed to proceed with some killings to provide himself with cover have caused a considerable stir.

Most observers have assumed that IRA killings would never be allowed to proceed, even with the purpose of protecting a valuable security force agent. Revelations in the Brian Nelson informer case led to allegations that army intelligence might have allowed loyalists to kill republican suspects. But the idea that the police might sacrifice colleagues was greeted with considerable scepticism.

Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Northern Ireland Secretary, said yesterday: 'I have seen the story and of course that would be absolutely unacceptable. The RUC are investigating.'