Irish activists seek inclusion in UK inquiry on undercover agent

Mark Kennedy said to have infiltrated Irish campaign groups during the mid-2000s

Undercover UK police agent Mark Kennedy, pictured (centre, with cap) at Ballinaboy in March 2006 where  campaigners had gathered against the Corrib piepline. Photograph: indymedia

Undercover UK police agent Mark Kennedy, pictured (centre, with cap) at Ballinaboy in March 2006 where campaigners had gathered against the Corrib piepline. Photograph: indymedia

 

Women who say they were involved in relationships with undercover UK police agent Mark Kennedy while in Ireland have spoken of their “devastation” at being duped by the spy, and have demanded an inquiry into his actions.

The Pitchford Inquiry in England and Wales is currently examining the activities of undercover police officers from a secretive unit over a 40-year period following revelations that some entered into relationships with women and even fathered a child in one case.

There have been suggestions the inquiry might be extended to include Scotland and Northern Ireland, and a group of individuals in the Republic who claim their confidence had been betrayed and their privacy violated by the spy now want Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to push for their inclusion.

Campaigners say Mr Kennedy, who operated under the alias Mark Stone, travelled to the Republic on up to six occasions during the mid-2000s to recruit opposition to the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005.

Mr Kennedy has previously admitted to surreptitiously infiltrating environmental protest groups across a number of jurisdictions, but the Department of Justice has so far refused to commit to participating in, or ordering, any public inquiry into his activities in the State.

Ms Fitzgerald confirmed last month that she had ordered a new internal review within An Garda Síochána into the organisation’s knowledge of Mr Kennedy’s movements and activities in Ireland between 2004 and 2006 following an earlier review completed in 2011.

The initial Garda review was never publicly published, and campaigners say internal reports could not be trusted in any event.

On Tuesday, activists will commence high court proceedings in Belfast aiming to compel the UK Government to include Northern Ireland in the Pitchford inquiry, and victims are said to be considering taking similar legal action in the Republic.

At a media event Monday calling on the Department of Justice to push for participation in Pitchford, campaigners read out a statement from Sarah Hampton, a US national who claims to have visited Ireland at the spy’s behest.

“He behaved like he was in love with me, and it tortures me knowing he was paid to be with me because it was such a loving relationship. It was devastating to find out it was all a lie,” read the statement.

Ms Hampton said she recently received an official apology from the Metropolitan Police over the distress caused to her.

Kim Bryan, a former acquaintance of Mr Kennedy’s, claimed he had recruited hundreds of Irish citizens to travel to Scotland for the G8 summit, saying he “coerced and manipulated” people into joining radical protest movements while on Irish soil.

The Shell to Sea campaign, which opposes the Shell Corrib gas project in Mayo, and Shannonwatch, which opposes the use of Irish airports by US military, are among the organisations which claim to have come in contact with Mr Kennedy while he was active in the Republic.