FORMER Sinn Féin director of publicity Danny Morrison has said the IRA informer known as Stakeknife was 'stood down' from the organisation under a cloud of suspicion in 1990, despite the fact he continued to live in west Belfast until he was publicly outed in 2003.
Stakeknife, thought to be Freddie Scappaticci, denied allegations that he had been a high level agent working for military intelligence when his cover was blown by the media in May 2003.
At the time senior republicans - including party leader Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness both said they were unconvinced by the allegations against the IRA man who is claimed to have headed up the organisation's 'internal security' department.
Even Mr Morrison at the time said: "Unless proven otherwise, I'm sceptical of allegations which have as their source British intelligence."
Within weeks of being publicly outed Scappaticci fled Northern Ireland to an address in the north of England. He also secured an injunction preventing the press revealing his exact whereabouts or printing up-to-date pictures.
In October last year Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory called for a fresh investigation into Stakeknife's involvement in more than 20 murders, although it is thought that could rise to as much as 50 killings.
Chief Constable George Hamilton has indicated he intends asking officers from outside of Northern Ireland to carry out the investigation into, not just the IRA double agent but, his handlers and those who directed his activities.
Writing on his blog this week, Mr Morrison who recently received compensation widely reported to be in the region of £200,000 after a court of appeal quashed a conviction against him for the alleged abduction of an IRA informer, said it was Scappaticci who lured him to a house in Andersonstown where he was arrested.
In 2008, along with his co accused that included former hunger striker Gerard Hodgins the conviction for false imprisonment and conspiracy to murder Sandy Lynch was quashed. However the State withheld its reasons for doing so.
Mr Morrison said this week that in 1990, while awaiting trial in Crumlin Road jail, he learnt via a message from an IRA contact "that it was Freddie Scappaticci who had specified that I should come to Lenadoon and meet Lynch".
"In the Crum (Crumlin Road prison) I was also told inter alia by the IRA that Scappaticci, after my arrest, was ‘stood down’ along with others involved in the Lynch affair, and that to avoid arrest they had all fled to Dundalk and Dublin.
"To this day I believe the IRA's version of events.
"Given current claims about Scappaticci, it is thus extremely important to make this statement", Mr Morrison added.
The fresh police investigation into the activities of Stakeknife will include the unsolved murders of west Belfast man Joseph Mulhern murdered in 1993 and single parent Caroline Moreland in 1994.
Frank Mulhern has said Scappaticci told him gruesome details about how his son was murdered in a face to face meeting with the alleged double agent.
However, Mr Morrison said he does "not believe this to be true".
"The IRA told me that Scappaticci was redundant after 7th January 1990", he said.
Mr Morrison added that the directing of informers at a high level by the British government was "immoral".
"It never deflected the course of Irish history, but deflected the course of ordinary lives, gave rise to ordinary suffering and long-lasting grief.
"Various dates have appeared in the idiotic mainstream media about when Scap became an informer.
"Given the IRA killing of Lord Mountbatten, eighteen soldiers at Narrow Water, the great escape from the H-Blocks in 1983, the Brighton Bombing, given everything major the IRA did, including landing massive arms shipments from Libya (and, presumably, elsewhere), and given that the IRA got away with all these things before the 7th January 1990, the question has to be asked: what actually did Freddie Scappaticci stop?"
"Who did he save?", he added.