The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
More Questions than Answers

Mick Hall • August, 2003

With the naming of Sean Mag Uidhir (Maguire) as an [alleged] informer by the media's very own tout on line Peter Keeley (Alias Kevin Fulton), it increasingly looks like the current incarnation of the Stakenife affair had its origins in events that took place in the early 1990s - in a nondescript Belfast house which the RUC raided to free former PIRA volunteer Sandy Lynch, who also moonlighted as an RUC special branch informer.

Indeed if the press reports are to be believed, two ranking PIRA members who according to their current accusers were informers working for the British State, had been sent by their PIRA commanders to 'interrogate' a third informer. Whilst a fourth man who was the real target of the RUC on that day had been sent by the Army Council to oversee their interrogation of the prisoner and if necessary confirm judgement of any Court Martial that may or may not have taken place. If, and I stress the word, the aforementioned has any basis in truth then it is almost surreal or out of a Monty Python movie; the more one hears of this, the words salt and pinch springs to mind. What is becoming increasingly clear is that the dramatic events of that day may have set in motion a chain of events the ripples of which are still being felt today. The question that needs to be asked, is this a natural flow of events or is some unseen hand stirring up the waters?

Lynch, a PIRA volunteer who had fallen under suspicion as an informer, by all accounts had been arrested by Provo security and taken to the house to be interrogated and possibly court martialled. This explains the presence at the house of the three people who besides Lynch have emerged as the major players in this wretched affair. Fred Scappaticci, Sean Mag Uidhir and Danny Morrison. If we are to believe the media, Scappaticci visited the house in his role as a senior Provo policeman, Mag Uidhir as one of Lynch's superiors in the PIRA Belfast command structure and Morrison as the representative of the Army Council, although he claimed at his later trial that he was there to organise a press conference with Lynch as its main participant.

It is hardly surprising that the three men who visited the house where Lynch was being held were not on the premises all at the same time, as this would have been basic security on their part. What is clear is that the RUC officers, who were watching the house, passed up the opportunity of arresting either Scappaticci or Mag Uidhir before they left the house. Both of them were supposedly high on the RUCs arrest wish list at the time, but on that particular afternoon they had an even bigger fish to fry, the Republican Movement's publicity chief Danny Morrison. Much hinges on whether they had certain knowledge that he would visit the house that afternoon or they had worked it out via probabilities. It is doubtful if we will ever know for sure, but much of the rumour and speculation hangs on this conundrum. Danny Morrison, who at that time was near the top of the RUC's list of major Republican Movement targets, having been a main player for a decade, and in the process emerged as the most able and efficient propagandist then working for Gerry Adams and his leadership within the Provisionals.

The Branch were not to be disappointed, as Morrison fell into their hands at the same time as they crashed through the door of 124 Carrigart Avenue to free Lynch. Scappaticci and Mag Uidhir were no longer in the building; it was the fact that they escaped the RUC net that set the rumours buzzing over the next decade and more.

As was the norm after all failed PIRA operations, an internal inquiry was conducted by its security department or possibly in this case, as PIRA security may well have been involved in any lapse, by more senior republicans maybe even army council members. This would to a degree explain Scappaticci's later naive, bitter, and, if he is innocent, stupid behaviour. We can only speculate about what conclusions were reached by this inquiry and what decisions the Army Council took on reading its report. What is becoming clear is that the whole Stakenife affair grew out of the fact that Lynch was able to fall into the welcoming arms of his RUC saviours at the very moment Danny Morrison was approaching or was on the premises. What we also can reasonably conclude is that the military careers of two ranking republicans came to an end that afternoon and also that of then Republican Movement's foremost publicist and propagandist, who with his arrest and subsequent conviction ended up being sentenced to 8 years in jail. The latter's career on his release from jail remains one of the untold mysteries of the last thirty years. For Morrison never returned on release to the upper reaches of the RM that he previously inhabited. Indeed some senior republicans seem to have lost all confidence in him; the reasons for this have never been fully explained. The public version being that on his release from prison he wished to concentrate on his writing career and although there is nothing to doubt this, this explanation does not sit too well with some. Although their hostility could be explained by these people feeling that Morrison wrongly placed his private life before that of the RM.

It looks likely the internal PIRA inquiry came to no concrete conclusion about whether there were other informers besides Lynch in the house during his period of captivity within it. Was it therefore recommended that all three of the leading players, Scappaticci, Mag Uidhir and Morrison be stood down from all active service, thus membership of the PIRA?

This would explain in part not only the aforementioned about Morrison, but also Scappaticci's recently revealed odd behaviour, when he met the producers of the TV program The Cook Report. According to a tape they produced of their meeting with him, he badmouthed Martin McGuinness in a most derogatory and foolish way. The TV people claim they never ran the Scappaticci interview because shortly after meeting him they themselves were approached by British Intelligence. The securocrats apparently told them that Scappaticci was one of their most important informers within the IRA and they were asked not to make the interview public, as his exposure would jeopardise future operations, and etc.

I have no doubt that the TV people were approached by someone from the securocrats, however to believe that such people would give the name of one of their top informers within PIRA to the producer/researcher of a TV programme is to defy belief. So what were the securocrats up to; could it be that they were putting into place the bricks of a possible future sting? They would have been aware that Scappaticci was disgruntled, angry about being stood down, perhaps they had approached him to work for them and he had turned them down, who knows. He had after all spent years cleaning the Provisional stables and being stood down whilst having a cloud over his head was all the thanks the leadership gave him.

He was not the type of man who could go off and build a different type of life within the Republican Movement, unlike Mag Uidhir, by studying, and he was not cut out for a political career. Even if it was offered him which, due to his history would have been doubtful. Finally, due to the nature of his work within the Provos, which at times amounted to being a secret police officer, if smeared he was unlikely to have many members of the Republican Movement coming forward to defend him. He was rumoured to have accompanied too many Provos under sentence on their last walk along dark border lanes to have gained any personal popularity within republican circles. The meeting with the team from the Cook Report would also explain the half hearted defence of Scappaticci by senior Provo figures as it is likely they too knew about it, possibly from Scappaticci himself when interrogated after the first revelations about him being Stakeknife. And they were aware that it would be revealed at some time.

As to Peter Keeley, the Newry born informer, naming of Sean Mag Uidhir as an informer? This info looks doubtful, as how would Keeley know? Today he claims to be in dispute with his former State employers, so it is unlikely he gained the information from them after he came in from the cold, so to speak. Whilst working as an informer he would not have been given information about other under cover operatives and informers working for the army, police or security service for basic reasons of security, in case he was exposed and interrogated by the IRA himself. This being so how would he have come across such information?

We can take it for granted that all agents and informers working within the Republican Movement are not given a Christmas party once a year organised by their employers, the British State, at which they swap notes and stories about each other. Although according to the former deep penetration British Army agent Willie Carlin, who, whilst a serving British Army soldier was sent back to Derry to infiltrate the Republican Movement and did so with some success, managing to stay active for almost a decade, he and Keeley along with other disgruntled agents/informers have met to discuss passed events. This being so it would not be hard to plant information amongst this unsavoury bunch that would find its way into the media. Indeed it is possible that the differences between the likes of Keeley, Carlin or one of the others who make up this sorry bunch and their British masters are fabricated and one or more of them are still working as an active agent of the securocrats.

I have no doubt that the British State has had an informer or informers within the upper reaches of the PIRA; why should the Provos be any different from previous generations of Republicans all of whom were infiltrated at one time or another by the British or Free State security? The questions are, are any of these informers still operational and was the Stakenife affair designed to keep the spotlight off them, or is the whole affair the normal bog-standard security sting that plays on human weaknesses, especially gossip, ego and petty slights?




Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

4 September 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


US Denies It Gave Safe Harbor to Brian Nelson
Fr Sean Mc Manus


Between Theory and Reality
Eamon Sweeney


In the Name of Security
Jim J Kane


Caught at it Again
Anthony McIntyre


The History of the Troubles According to the Provos
John Nixon


Moving Forward Past the Past
Davy Carlin


More Questions than Answers
Mick Hall


In Memory of Robert Emmet

Charles Murnick


Attempted Suicide by Iranian Asylum Seeker
Debbie Grue


Dublin: Maghberry Briefing Meeting
Mags Glennon


Belfast Anti-War Movement
Public Meeting


1 September 2003


Latest Police Attacks on Press Freedoms
Mike Browne


We Haven't Gone Away, You Know
The Blanket Back Online


The War Crime of Secret Graves
Anthony McIntyre


Horses for Courses
Eamon Sweeney


Rwanda: Crushing Dissent
Liam O Ruairc


Terrorists, Their Friends and the Bogota 3
Toni Solo


Aznar: Spain's Super Lackey
Agustín Velloso


Orwell Centenary Talk

John O'Farrell


The Letters page has been updated.




The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices