Derry Journal

Derry Man In MI5 Spanish Sting Operation

Friday 3rd December 2004

Prominent Derry solicitor Paddy MacDermott says it appears armed British security agents are operating in a foreign country after a local republican currently living in Spain claimed that he was approached by MI5 this week in an intricate operation he believes was designed to get information from him.

Mr. MacDermott, whose client was the man approached, said he had been in contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Spanish authorities about what he said was a "deeply disturbing' incident."

He told the 'Journal': "This is a deeply disturbing incident in which a Derry republican was approached by armed individuals in Spain who claimed to be from MI5.

"I have been in contact with the Spanish authorities over what appears to be members of the British security services operating in a foreign country and I want to know who authorised this operation."

The Derry republican, who asked not to be named in order to protect family members still living in the city, described his ordeal.

He told the 'Journal': "I have been working in this small mountain village in Catalonia for the past couple of days restoring an old house.

"On Wednesday about 2 p.m. I went to a local bar for some coffee and lunch. As I was sitting there I heard an English accent calling me by name and I turned and saw a couple in their 30's with three bottles of beer.

"I assumed they wanted some work done as English speaking builders are hard to find."

He went on: "No sooner had they sat down the man said quite calmly, 'We work for MI5,' at the same time moving his jacket to show a gun. I immediately put the beer down and got up to leave telling them to go 'f - -themselves.'"

The Derry man said that as he headed towards the door he noticed two other men sitting at another table, one of whom he had seen earlier in the day loitering near where he was working.

He added: "As I went towards the door I noticed the English couple were coming behind me. The man said: 'Don't worry we're not going to follow you, we just want a quick chat outside.'

"I stopped and instead went to talk to the barman as I knew they would not want witnesses."

The man said he then phoned the Spanish police to tell them that he had been approached by an armed man and was told the police would be there shortly.

The Derry man said that he then got angry and left the bar and had words with the people who had approached him.

He said: "I told them to go home, that the Empire was over and that Spain was not British. As I followed them two more men appeared from a side street talking on a radio and in total I noticed seven people working in a team."

The Derry man said that he was a republican but had never been convicted of anything.

He added: "The only thing I can think of is that when I was in Derry I worked for the prisoners.

"I would advise anyone if they are approached in this manner to make it clear that they do not want to talk to these people, contact their solicitor and the media."

The Derry man has been in contact with the Spanish police who arrived on the scene shortly after the incident and he gave them the number of the car used by some of the group who approached him.

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