Northern Ireland news


MI5 agent Dennis McFadden not on Operation Arbacia witness list

Suspected MI5 agent Dennis McFadden
Connla Young

Suspected MI5 agent Dennis McFadden has not been listed as a potential witness in a major case targeting the New IRA.

The Scottish national fled his north Belfast home just before details of a major MI5 led sting - codenamed Operation Arbacia - came to light a year ago this week.

It is believed that McFadden was responsible for renting two properties in Co Tyrone last year claimed to have been used for separate meetings allegedly involving senior members of the 'IRA'.

Ten people have been charged with a series of offences arising out of the major surveillance operation, including nine with directing terrorism.

The accused include husband and wife David and Sharon Jordan, Damien Joseph McLaughlin, Kevin Murphy, Amanda McCabe, Shea Reynolds, Joseph Barr, Gary Hayden and Paddy McDaid.

Palestinian doctor Issam Bassalat, who had been living in Edinburgh, is charged with addressing an IRA meeting.

All the accused deny the charges.

It is understood hard drives containing documents linked to the case were recently handed over to lawyers representing the ten accused.

These include 470 hours of audio and video recordings.

It is believed that more than 2,000 pages of evidence have also been delivered.

Witness statements have also been provided by members of MI5, the PSNI and gardai.

It is understood that around 1,200 statements are also contained in the documents.

No statements have been provided by McFadden.

At a bail hearing for Mr McDaid last week, defence barrister Joe Brolly said "quite clearly, state agent Dennis McFadden has been airbrushed from the case papers" and described him as the "organiser and champion of the meetings".

The accused are expected to receive their papers this week along with equipment for watching and listening to the electronic surveillance linked to the case.

A member of the Saoradh national executive, McFadden held the post of resource officer.

It is believed that he was also involved in financial affairs.

Originally from the Gorbals area of Glasgow, he has not been seen in Belfast since fleeing along with his wife and child.

It is suspected he is currently being held in protective custody.

The meetings at two houses, one close to Creggan in February and the second near Gortin in Co Tyrone, in July, were recorded by listening devices and cameras.

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