Northern Ireland news

Former Derry and Antrim hurler Kevin Collins 'fears for life after MI5 attempts to recruit as informer'

Former Derry and Antrim hurler Kevin Collins claims MI5 has tried to recruit him as an informer. Picture by Hugh Russell
Connla Young

A FORMER Derry and Antrim hurler says he fears for his life because MI5 tried to recruit him as an informer.

Kevin Collins said he cut short a holiday to Tenerife last week after he was confronted by two men he believes were security service officers.

Mr Collins played senior hurling for Derry and won an All-Ireland junior championship with Antrim in the early 2000s, as well as an Ulster minor title in 1996 with his club Lavey.

He describes himself as a republican and says he is a former member of Saoradh but is no longer involved with any political organisation.

Read More: Vulnerable teenager 'at risk' from informer approach

In 2016 his name was on an email containing names and addresses of republicans lost by PSNI officers in Ballymoney.

It was later found by another police officer.

Mr Collins claims he has been approached by the same two men on two previous occasions while on foreign holidays over the past 12 months.

He believes they are also responsible for a series of text messages and threatening phone calls.

On one occasion he claims he was told his father would be shot and that they would kill his ex-wife in front of his three children.

The 41-year-old said he was asked to go to the reception of his hotel on the second say of a holiday last week and was approached by two men with English accents.

Read More: Co Tyrone man claims he was hospitalised after alleged MI5/PSNI informer approach

“They cornered me at the top of the stairs and I thought they were going to push me,” he said.

“They said ‘We really need to speak to you this time Kevin because this is your last chance to comply with us and work for us’.”

Mr Collins said he feared for his safety and decided to return home that day.

He claimed he was also detained by Spanish police at an airport in Majorca last June and brought to a room at gunpoint where the two men were waiting.

He said he was asked to “infiltrate” the republican movement and told a prominent republican was “out to get” him.

He claimed the men had around €30,000 in front of them on a desk and that he had to “wrestle” his way out of the room.

He also alleged that a similar incident took place at Malaga Airport last September but he refused to enter the room.

Mr Collins claimed the men are “asking me to join an organisation to become an informer”.

“I would rather die before I would turn informer or be an informer,” he said.

He believes he has been offered cash due to a recent relationship break-up and “financial troubles” and that he may be seen as an “easy target”.

“This is putting me under mental stress,” he said.

“I fear for my life or they are going to set me up.”

His solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said: “It’s hugely intimidating and worse still it puts lives at risk.

Solicitor Kevin Winters

“We are supporting Kevin at a time of increased pressure - we will lodge complaints and issue proceedings immediately.”

Saoradh spokesman Dee Fennell said Mr Collins resigned from the party due to work and family commitments and that it still has “every confidence in him”.

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