Northern Ireland news

Vulnerable teenager 'at risk' from informer approach

Lurgan teenager Martin McKenna talks to the Irish News. Picture by Hugh Russell

MEMBERS of an intelligence agency who tried to recruit a vulnerable 19-year-old have potentially "put him in danger", a leading lawyer has said.

Martin McKenna from Lurgan has been diagnosed with ADHD, which has hampered his ability to find employment.

He travelled to Wales last week with his mother Anna and two other people to attend a family party. It was the Co Armagh teenager's first holiday and first time on a plane.

He said that while walking in Glamorgan town centre he was approached by two men with Northern Irish accents who tapped him on the shoulder and said "Hi Marty".

Mr McKenna said the men told him they wanted to "look after" him.

"I asked them who they were and they just said 'that doesn't matter' and that if I give them information on people that they would look after me," he said.

Mr McKenna said the men handed him a cigarette box with £200 inside and a piece of paper with a mobile number to contact them.

His mother Anna said her son returned to the relative's home where they were staying "in a distressed state".

"I knew straight away something was wrong when I heard him calling me, you could hear it in his voice," she said.

"This is putting my son at risk, they should never have approached him and put him and our family in this position."

Mr McKenna said he gave the £200 given to him by the men to a charity.

Peter Corrigan of Phoenix Law said he would be lodging a complaint to the Police Ombudsman,

"My client is a vulnerable young man, this puts him in a potentially dangerous situation," he said.

"He is a young man with a completely clear criminal record and we will be asking the police ombudsman to investigate on why he was followed on holiday and approached in this way."

A spokesperson for the PSNI said in relation to the approach; "We would neither confirm nor deny and no inference should be drawn from this".

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