RUC officer refuses to tell tribunal whether Scappaticci is 'Stakeknife'


A FORMER assistant chief constable of the RUC has said Freddie Scappaticci was a member of the notorious “nutting squad” which enforced discipline within the Provisional IRA.

Richard White told the Smithwick Tribunal that Mr Scappaticci worked alongside John Joe McGee in the “nutting squad” and both were members of the IRA.

However, Mr White, who acknowledged he had access to intelligence reports on the activities of the double agent known as “Stakeknife”, refused to comment on speculation that Mr Scappaticci was Stakeknife.

Asked if he would like to say anything about speculation that Stakeknife was a British double agent Mr White replied: “No comment”.

Later when counsel for An Garda Síochána Diarmaid McGuinness SC put it to Mr White that he was unable to positively identify Stakeknife as Mr Scappaticci, he replied “I didn’t say I am not able to. I said I am not prepared to.”

The tribunal is inquiring into suggestions of collusion between members of the Garda or other employees in the State in the murder of two RUC officers, Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan, in March 1989.

Mr Scappaticci, who is legally represented at the tribunal, has consistently denied that he is or was Stakeknife, or that he was ever a member of the IRA.

Commenting on relations between the RUC and the Garda he said co-operation in the 1970s had been lacking in official “infrastructure”, taking their lead from “frosty” political relationships.

Mr White said he believed there was some “empathy” among Southerners for those who fled Northern Ireland and settled in the Dundalk area but not for the violence espoused by paramilitaries. He said he had heard the name of Det Sgt Owen Corrigan of Dundalk Garda station in “gossip” in the context of someone who should not be trusted. But he said he had no evidential basis for this.

The tribunal heard journalist Toby Harnden, whose book Bandit Country – the IRA and South Armaghalleged collusion between a Dundalk garda and the IRA, had declined to give evidence.

The tribunal resumes on Friday.