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Secret file proves existence of IRA informer

Former British agent Peter Keeley
Connla Young

An alleged leaked document at the centre of a PSNI investigation confirms that a second police informer was working at a senior level within the IRA in south Down in the 1990s.

Details of the secret document emerged last month when a former official at the Police Ombudsman’s Office was arrested by officers in England.

The 69-year-old, who was arrested in Dartford in Kent, was detained by PSNI officers investigating the “suspected theft of sensitive documents from within the Office of the Police Ombudsman”.

The man was later released on police bail pending further enquiries.

The Irish News can now reveal that the document includes previously unconfirmed details about an informer operating at a senior level within the IRA in Newry over two decades ago.

It was previously known that a British agent called Peter Keeley - sometimes called Kevin Fulton - had infiltrated the IRA in the city on behalf of the British army’s Force Research Unit.

It is understood the leaked document confirms for the first time that a second informer was also active in the area.

The sensitive report at the centre of the investigation reveals details about the killing of RUC officer Colleen McMurray in Newry in March 1992.

The 34-year-old died when the police car she was sitting in was struck by a Mark 12 horizontal mortar fired by the IRA using remote ‘flashgun’ technology.

Her colleague was also seriously injured in the attack, losing both his legs.

It is understood the police woman’s family was provided with a copy of a Police Ombudsman’s report into the circumstances of her death several years ago.

However a second, unauthorised but more detailed document, was also given to a relative by an ombudsman official.

It is believed the sensitive document, which refers to the second informer, was later given by the family of constable McMurray to their solicitor.

The document later came into the possession of lawyers for the Ministry of Defence and PSNI as part of a separate case involving British agent Peter Keeley.

In 2015 Keeley told BBC Panorama that he helped design the technology used to fire the mortar that claimed the police officer’s life.

He also said he had passed that information onto his handlers and told them the IRA was planning an attack.

The Irish News understands that the secret document does not name the alleged second informer, instead the person is referred to by code.

It is believed an attached intelligence report refers to the second agent, who worked for Special Branch.

It is understood the document also reveals that the second informer was reporting to his handlers about the activities of Keeley.

Keeley has been linked to the death of Newry IPLO member Eoin Morley, who was shot dead by the IRA in April 1990.

 

In 2006 Keeley was arrested in England and questioned about the Morley killing and the death of British soldier Cyril Smyth, who was killed when the IRA carried out a bomb attack on a checkpoint outside Newry in 1990.

He was later released without charge.

Fresh legal papers were lodged with Belfast High Court last month by solicitors acting for Eoin Morley’s mother, Eilish Morley, which refer to the mortar attack that killed constable McMurray.

Ms Morley is suing the MoD and PSNI over the death of her son.

In 2014 Keeley was ordered by a court in Belfast to pay damages to Mrs Morley.

In recent days it has been reported that six former RUC men - three special branch men and three detectives - named in the report are considering taking legal action against the Police Ombudsman.

The PSNI has suspended the release of any further sensitive material to the ombudsman's office until a review of security protocols is carried out.

A spokesman for the ombudsman last night said: “It would be inappropriate for the Police Ombudsman’s Office to provide any comment at this stage.”

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