News

Police officer who infiltrated republican group had 'intimate relationship' with woman

Solicitor Darragh Mackin
Connla Young

A major inquiry investigating the activities of a controversial covert British police unit that infiltrated republican groups heard one member had an “intimate relationship” with a woman while working under cover.

The officer, who used the cover name ‘Rick Gibson’ and is now dead, operated inside the Troop’s Out Movement and a socialist feminist organisation known as Big Flame between 1974 and 1976.

The pro-republican Troop’s Out Movement was formed in 1973 and based in Britain. It is not known which group the woman he had the affair with belonged to.

The officer was part of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) whose members infiltrated political groups in England and were drawn from the Metropolitan Police.

The activities of the SDS are subject of the ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry, which has also been set up to investigate and report on the operations of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and other police forces across England Wales since 1968.

In the past some officers involved with undercover units have been accused of deceiving women into having relationships with them.

It has emerged that a woman, who has been given the pseudonym ‘Mary’, has given a statement to the inquiry claiming she had an “intimate relationship” with the undercover officer and is now demanding to know his real identity.

 

It has now emerged the man's ex-wife has asked the inquiry for time to inform her family about the evidence provided by ‘Mary’.

Inquiry chairman Sir John Mitting was also asked to a make a restriction in respect of the officer’s real name. The chairman said he would consider the matter.

The Irish News revealed yesterday that another deceased officer, who used the alias ‘Sean Lynch’, infiltrated the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, Sinn Féin in London and a now defunct group called the Irish Civil Rights Solidarity Campaign (ICRSC) between 1968 and 1974.

The inquiry is not expected to produce a final report until 2023.

Belfast solicitor Darragh Mackin has called for the inquiry to be extended to include the north.

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