Loyalists warned Haughey of assassination plan

Charles Haughey. RollingNews.ie photo


By Anthony Neeson

The loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) warned then Taoiseach Charles Haughey that British intelligence agency MI5 had approached the organization with a request to execute him.

The revelation of the alleged plot was made in the annual release of the Irish state papers, which relate to 1987 – 30 years ago.

The correspondence, signed by “Capt W Johnston” reads: “In 1985 we were approached by a MI5 officer… he asked us to execute you.”

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The period would have covered the time of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. It is further claimed that the UVF were supplied with details of Mr. Haughey’s cars, his private yacht, plus aerial photos of his home in north Dublin and his holiday home on the island of Inishvickillane, off the Kerry coast.

According to the letter, the UVF were asked to accept responsibility if Mr. Haughey was killed. The organization refused saying: “We have no love for you [Haughey] but we are not going to carry out work for the Dirty Tricks Department of the British.”

The letter writer explained that the UVF had killed 17 men based on information supplied by MI5 between 1972 and 1985.

“MI5 were double crossing us all the time we were working with them. We executed some of our best men believing them to be traitors.”

In another revelation based on the release of papers, a letter dated 14 June 1985 from the Irish Ambassador in London, Noel Dorr, to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, states that the Israeli Ambassador told him that Ian Paisley had been in touch with him “to obtain arms.”

“I expressed surprise at this since I thought it unlikely that Paisley would leave himself open on something like this,” wrote Dorr.

“The ambassador said the request related to “border protection.” I said I presumed that the emphasis was on surveillance equipment rather than arms…”

In June, 1987 a briefing document was drafted by the Irish Embassy in London following Margaret Thatcher’s third general election win and was sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.

The assessment noted: “The Northern Ireland problem is by no means a priority for the third Thatcher Administration. But the continued operational success of the IRA and the fear of an assassination of Royalty or a Cabinet Secretary remain a source of great concern for the Prime Minister.”

And according to the state papers there was a rumor Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams had set up the eight members of the East Tyrone Brigade of the IRA who were ambushed and killed by the SAS in Loughall in 1987.

A civilian, Anthony Hughes, was also killed by the SAS in the hail of gunfire as the unit attacked an RUC station in the village.

The rumor was passed on to the Department of Foreign Affairs by Fr. Denis Faul who was a staunch opponent of physical force republicanism.

Fr. Faul said that the theory doing the rounds was that “the IRA team were set up by Gerry Adams himself.”

Sinn Féin described the claims as “utter nonsense.”

Meanwhile, the British government has admitted “losing” thousands of papers from the National Archives, including those pertaining to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

One Belfast victims’ campaigner, whose father was shot dead by the British Army in August, 1971, said he is not surprised by the news.

John Teggart said: “This has been going on for many, many years. We have been trying to get material from the archives relating to the Ballymurphy Massacre, and many times we have come against files that have been closed for eighty plus years.”