Republican denies he was Special Branch agent who passed on Shankill bomb information

A republican who says he was identified as a Special Branch agent who passed information on the Shankill bombing to his ‘handlers’ has vigorously denied he was ever a state agent.

The Irish News published claims last month that Special Branch ‘Agent AA’ was an IRA ‘commander at the time of the Shankill bomb and gave his handlers information that could have potentially prevented the 1993 atrocity.

The Irish News said its report was based on classified documents stolen during an IRA break-in at Castlereagh RUC Station on St Patrick’s Day, 2001.

In a statement issued today through Ó Muirigh Solicitors on the Springfield Road in Belfast, the man said the claims that he was an agent are “entirely without foundation”.

Claiming that his life had been placed in danger since the article, the stressed that he was “always has been and remains a committed republican”.

Ó Muirigh Solicitors said: “We represent an individual who believes that the allegations relating to a Special Branch ‘Agent AA’ contained in the Irish News Article of Monday 25th January have been directed at him.

“Our client instructs us that the allegations are wholly untrue, without foundation and defamatory of him. Further, he asserts that these allegations have put his life and the personal safety of his family in danger and constitute a breach of his Article 2 rights.”

In the man’s statement, he revealed death threats have been made against him since the publication of the article.

“These scurrilous allegations and reckless journalism have led to death threats being made against me since the publication of the article. I have had to leave my family home to protect my family from attack. This situation has been very stressful and upsetting to me and my family.

“I would question the existence and/or authenticity of the ‘classified documents’ allegedly seen by the Irish News. I have, through my legal representative, requested sight of said document and if I am denied access to them by the Irish News I will have no option but to consider the legal remedies available to me.

“I have requested that my identity is not published by my lawyer at this stage as I am concerned that this would increase the possibility of an attack on me and my family.”

The man said his solicitors have contacted the Office of the Police Ombudsman to lodge a complaint.

He added: “If such a fraudulent document exists I would like their office to investigate whether there has been any police misconduct in relation to circulation of said ‘classified document’.

“I also understand from media reports that the families of the victims of the Shankill Bomb in 1993 have asked the Office of the Police Ombudsman to investigate this matter. My legal representative has also informed the Office of the Police Ombudsman that I will assist that investigation.”