Republic of Ireland news

Eamon Dunne: Murdered Dublin drug lord 'could have been recruited as Garda informer'

Client Confidential
Connla Young

A former British soldier turned spymaster has claimed that a senior Dublin drug lord gunned down in a gangland hit could have been recruited as an informer by gardaí.

Seán Hartnett, not his real name, said that murdered gangster Eamon ‘The Don' Dunne could have been used by the Irish state in its war against the underworld.

Dunne was shot dead in a Dublin pub in April 2010.

Before his death the mobster hired the services of the former soldier who was deployed to the north in 2001 to work with the British army's secret Joint Communications Unit - Northern Ireland.

In his new book ‘Client Confidential – Spooks, Secrets and Counter-Espionage during the Celtic Tiger' the author revealed that Dunne believed his life was under threat and that he was being followed by several state agencies.

He said that while he had no wish to help Dunne avoid the law, he was willing “to try to keep him alive long enough for the gardaí to bang him up”.

He explained in the book how he spent two weeks with the former drugs baron while showing him anti-surveillance techniques.

He said that he was reluctant to work with Dunne - a regular drug user - to whom he had been introduced by an old friend.

“It was not a job I wanted,” he said.

“Towards the end I felt I might have been in danger of being roped in.

“I spent a lot of time with him showing him how to lose a tail and the last two days I was basically acting as a driver.

“I didn't want any part of this.

“He was a volatile man and was coked out of his head most of the time.”

He said Dunne was ripe for recruitment as a state agent.

“In my opinion, in my experience of Northern Ireland he was right for turning,” he said.

“If the gardaí had put a bit of effort in, they could have turned him.”

In the book the author also claimed that dissident republicans had infiltrated environmental groups across Ireland in the past and that he had helped set up a surveillance operation in the Republic on behalf of a former British army colleague.

He revealed the ex-colleague asked him to place a hidden camera in Co Mayo to monitor a site linked to the controversial Corrib gas line project managed by oil giants Shell.

Mr Hartnett said he does not know if his former colleague was still a member of the British army at the time but confirmed his interest centred on republicans linked to the anti-Shell campaign.

He says he collected the covert camera in Derry before driving across the border to place the device in a remote country area outside Castlebar.

Client Confidential, which is published by Merrion Press, is available from today.

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