Northern Ireland

High-profile republican apologised to family of IRA man ‘wrongly’ accused of being informer

Seamus Morgan was shot dead in 1982

Seamus Morgan was shot dead by the IRA in 1982.
Seamus Morgan was shot dead by the IRA in 1982

The family of a Co Tyrone man they believe was “wrongly” accused of being an informer has said a high-profile republican later apologised for his death.

Seamus Morgan, from Dungannon, in Co Tyrone, was killed by the IRA in March 1982 after being interrogated by the organisation’s feared Internal Security Unit (ISU).

A father-of-four, his body was found near the village of Forkhill, in south Armagh, days after he had been taken from a hotel in Monaghan during a night out.

The IRA later said he was an informer but this claim has been strongly disputed by many republicans in his home county, who say the decision to kill him caused anger.

Mr Morgan’s family also believe he wasn’t working for the state when he was killed.

Former British army agent Freddie Scappaticci, who was a commander in the IRA’s Internal Security Unit, was involved in Mr Morgan’s interrogation and later provided information to his handlers in the Force Research Unit.

They in turned passed the intelligence to the RUC, but despite this no attempt was made to rescue the victim.

A Public Prosecution Service document provided to Mr Morgan’s family suggested that the RUC believed, “on the basis of information available to them”, that the IRAs ‘Army Council’ would “reprieve” Mr Morgan, who would be allowed to return to the north.

Kenova package
British agent Freddie Scappaticci

Some republicans believe the RUC’s intelligence may have come from a second agent with knowledge of Mr Morgan’s interrogation as Scappaticci was reporting directly to FRU.

A report into the activities of Scappaticci, who was known by the codename Stakeknife, was published by Operation Kenova last week.

The Irish News revealed earlier this week that Mr Morgan came to the attention of the ISU after he was arrested and questioned by the RUC.

Republicans sources the 24-year-old “broke” during RUC interrogation and agreed to work for Special Branch.

He is also said to have provided police with information about an arms dump located near Dungannon.

On his release from RUC custody, Mr Morgan reported back to the IRA and admitted that he had agreed to work for Special Branch and had provided information about the dump.

It is understood nothing of major significance was being held in it when it was discovered.

It wasn’t uncommon for some people to break under interrogation during the Troubles and republican sources have suggested a less severe punishment could have been imposed on Mr Morgan by the IRA.

Sources say Mr Morgan’s admission to the IRA that he had broken while under arrest demonstrates he had no intention of becoming a paid agent.

There continues to be suspicion in some republican circles that he may have been sacrificed to protect an existing agent.

Mr Morgan’s family has now revealed that a senior republican visited their home after his death and apologised.

In a statement the family said: “A high-profile republican came to the family home after and told us that had he not been in jail Seamus would not have been killed, he was no informer.

“He apologised to us on behalf of the East Tyrone Brigade of the IRA.”