Jude Collins

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Spies like us

I’m baffled. Honestly. As a non-military or spook-person,  I don’t understand the latest claims that nearly half those in the IRA leadership were in fact British agents. We know that some IRA people – the various supergrasses, Denis Donaldson – were working for the British from within republican paramilitary ranks. But nearly half?

My first bafflement is, how all those agents must have been central to all the things the IRA did  - shootings, explosions, killings. If they'd kept coming up with excuses for being elsewhere each time violence was planned or occurred, wouldn’t somebody have smelt a rat? And if they were directly involved, wouldn’t that have placed them in Alice in Wonderland? In order to bring an end to the IRA’s violent actions, they were…um…performing violent IRA actions. Or master-minding them. Or both. Am I missing something here?

The second bafflement is, how on earth was the IRA so successful for so long? As a paramilitary force, it was acknowledged as one of the most effective in the world – very often by people who detested it. But how in God’s name could a force like that have so  many of its leading figures British agents?  Imagine if half the British forces that sailed to the Falklands had been in fact Argentine agents. Is it likely that Thatcher would have been able to arrange the sinking of The Belgrano  without interference? Wouldn’t the British forces have been hopelessly confused, with all those agents in their ranks?

My third bafflement relates to cui bono - who gains from this kind of claim? Certainly not republicans – it undermines what they would present as a heroic campaign against the British forces that went on for decades. If this heroism  could be transformed into  instead a pack of fools continually deceived by their shrewd British enemies, think what a wonderfully demoralizing effect that might have on republican energies and ambitions today?

If you can pollute the waters in which your enemy swims, you’ve got him licked. But you have to be sure that what you’re pouring into those waters is concentrated, 100% garbage. 


  1. I have heard many's a tale ? but who really benefits from discrediting Sinn Féin ?

  2. "The second bafflement is, how on earth was the IRA sosuccessful for so long?"

    What if the whole thing was State sponsored on both sides (loyalist and republican)? ie run by the british gov, in part, for some nefarious reason some ghoulish experiment?

    to what end? surely they could have flicked a switch if they wanted to?

    What if the whole thing was to set in motion a political process to get rid of a lump of land they didnt want?

    I love a good conspiracy.


  3. If it's factual, then surely those running the agents kept the war running for longer than it needed to and are, therefore, culpable for the deaths, damage which they were allowing if not actually encouraging to happen. I remember reading somewhere that The BA used to bring officers from other countries over to go on foot patrols etc. as part of the insurgency training they were providing for all those great democracies, like Libya, Pinochet's Chile, Syria and the like. So perhaps that's why the pot was kept boiling, so to speak, if created a nice little earner for the MOD.

  4. So the special branch /MI5 were the brains behind the IRA UVF and UDA UDR and RUC? Could the real story be they ran/run journalists. BTY An bhfuil fáinne agat?

  5. Just as baffeling are the unionist "agents", praised by "security" sources in numerous media as valuable and lifesavers, where's the evidence?. How many ambushes of unionist paramilitaries can be recalled? how many catholics were saved as the police surrounded armed men about to break their door down?. With so many "agents"what happened to all the house raids on the shankill?. Maybe im missing something, could it be that these charactors had a different role,one of prioritising murder rather than preventing.

  6. Anon 10:59 - Tá fainne airgid agam...

  7. Maith thú Jude


  8. members of other political parties may have been agents as well,surely it would have been just as valuable to have had members of the sdlp as agents,sure the never left police stations at the height of the war,and priests,enough said