Activists Demand Irish Inquiry

Mark Kennedy (centre) at Shell to Sea protest in Co Mayo

Mark Kennedy (centre) at Shell to Sea protest in Co Mayo

Activists targeted by British undercover officers in Ireland held their first press conference this morning in Dublin. Here is the press release.

Victims of British police spying in Ireland have condemned the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, for refusing to commission a complete inquiry into the unravelling scandal.

They are demanding to be included in any investigation about infiltration of political campaigns targeted by undercover British officers operating in Ireland. Mrs Fitzgerald has not replied to their letters, including a legal letter sent in December 2016. The activists have branded an internal Garda review as a whitewash, saying it lacks transparency and prioritises abusers over victims.

Several officers from the disgraced British units were involved in political groups and events in Ireland, and London’s Metropolitan Police admit that English officers who operated on Irish soil committed human rights abuses. Some of them deceived women into sexual relationships, a practice that led to an abject apology by the Metropolitan Police.[1]

After officer Mark Kennedy was exposed in 2010, a slew of revelations led to the establishing of the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) in England and Wales, led by Lord Justice Pitchford. Mark Kennedy is known to have made numerous trips to Ireland, and so far at least 56 wrongful convictions have been overturned related to Kennedy and secret police units in the UK.[2] However, events in Ireland are outside the British UCPI’s remit at present.

One of the Irish campaigns targeted was Shell To Sea, which opposed a new gas pipeline in Mayo. Last year they wrote to Mrs Fitzgerald asking for Ireland to join Germany and Scotland on the list of countries demanding inclusion in the UCPI.[3]

In December 2016 three of the 200 campaigners designated ‘core participants’ by the UCPI [3] wrote to the Justice Minister to begin legal action to force a proper investigation in Ireland by insisting the Irish government request inclusion in the UCPI.[4]

They said, “The many Irish press reports on the topic, [5] and multiple questions in Parliament,[6] prove that this topic lies firmly in the public interest. People and politicians in Ireland have only asked to have the same disclosure about abuses as is promised to people in England and Wales. The Metropolitan Police have acknowledged that aspects of the officers’ actions were an abuse of police power and a breach of human rights. These deeds are just as serious wherever they were committed.”

One of those taking legal action, communications consultant Kim Bryan, explained:

‘I am bitterly disappointed by the closed process Frances Fitzgerald has established, with an internal Garda report into undercover policing. It makes a mockery of the justice process if this review examining undercover policing in Ireland does not take into account the evidence of those that were spied on, and as such I would seriously question its legitimacy.’

Jason Kirkpatrick, a former Vice Mayor from Arcata, California, was spied upon during one of Mark Kennedy’s visits to Ireland. He said:

‘We’re not dealing with suspicions or allegations but what the Metropolitan Police have admitted is an abuse of police power and a violation of human rights. We insist that the Minister Fitzgerald work to have Ireland included in the formal UCPI.’

Mr. Kirkpatrick has a related legal action being heard in Belfast High Court, on 7 February. [7]

ENDS

Press Conference:

Speaking at a press conference for the first time are Jason Kirkpartick, who was targeted in Ireland by undercover officer Mark Kennedy, and Maura Harrington of Shell to Sea, a Mayo campaign group Kennedy infiltrated. The two will speak of their experiences, and explain why activists have condemned the closed report commissioned by the Justice Minister.

11am, Monday 6 February

Buswells Hotel
23-27 Molesworth Street
Dublin 2
D02 CT80
www.buswells.ie

NOTES TO EDITORS

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance is an alliance of people known to have been targeted by Britain’s political secret police.

  1. Claimants in civil cases receive MPS apology’, Metropolitan Police Service, 20 November 2015
  2. Prosecutors forced to admit covert operation caused miscarriage of justice‘, The Guardian, 24 September 2014
  3. Fitzgerald should seek answers on undercover British police in Ireland‘, Shell To Sea, 16 December 2016
  4. A full list of core participants is on the Pitchford inquiry’s website
  5. Inquiry urged into undercover British agent Mark Kennedy‘, Irish Times, 16 June 2016
  6. Germany and Scotland have both demanded inclusion in #spycops inquiry but Ireland refuses to do the same – Why??‘, Clare Daly TD, Twitter, 26 January 2017
  7. Man in legal bid to extend Pitchford Inquiry to Northern Ireland‘, Irish Legal News, 25 October 2016

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