The Sunday Independent yesterday reported that a British informant had been ‘outed’ in South Armagh. The finger was pointed, reputedly by security forces, at the OC of the South Armagh Brigade.
This report in the Sunday Independent appears to jigsaw identify Sean ‘The Surgeon’ Hughes as the alleged informer.
This report comes after months of this blog revealing details of the real agent in the South Armagh IRA, Co Louth republican Colm Murphy.
The desire of security sources to leak details of the alleged outing of the South Armagh OC comes 48 hours after the arrest of Michael ‘Micksey’ Martin in relation to the Kingsmill massacre. He is a long time associate of the South Armagh based former IRA Chief of Staff- Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy.
The 59 year old republican served a prison sentence for explosives in the Republic of Ireland in 1975, was jailed for 16 months for weapon procurement in the USA in 1989 and was later held on remand in London’s Belmarsh prison in 1994. There are no forensics linking the veteran republican to the attack. His prints have been held on file for decades.
PSNI legacy detectives were forced to re-open the investigation into Kingsmill after a bizarre development a number of months ago.
Colm Murphy was named on this blog as being one of those responsible for the massacre in January 2016; this claim was followed up by a denial by Murphy in the Irish News the following day.
Following this media coverage, a relatively low level forensic officer asked his superior if he could re-test the Kingsmill palm print held by the PSNI.
The first set of prints the officer attempted to match were those of Omagh bomber Colm Murphy. This match had previously been buried at the insistence of MI5, who had recruited Murphy as an agent around 1985.
However, a positive match was made and logged, which meant the PSNI had no option but to reveal the existence of the palm print forensic match, and thus a game of intrigue began with claims and counter claims.
This blog once again named Colm Murphy as the owner of the palm print match. Following this, the Co Louth republican gave an extensive interview to the Irish News, which the PSNI sought to block via an attempt to obtain a court injunction against the Belfast based paper.
The career killer did not deny that the print was his in his Irish News interview; but rather appeared to confirm his own knowledge of the print by questioning why it had only surfaced now.
High-level meetings have taken place between the PSNI and MI5 in order to decide how to deal with the situation. The implications of Murphy’s outing run much further than the Kingsmill investigation. They stretch to the murders of RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan, the Docklands bomb and the Omagh bombing.
After Murphy was outed the Secretary of State requested a closed hearing during a Judicial review into the failure to hold a public inquiry into the Omagh bomb. It is believed this closed material concerns the existence of a key informant in the Omagh bomb team; Colm Murphy.
It is understood the PSNI legacy team have devised a strategy to conduct a general ‘re-investigation’ of the Kingsmill case and this will involve interviewing, as a starting point, the main suspects initially identified by the RUC in 1976. This strategy is designed to string out the investigation and give breathing space for the security services to find a way to hide the Murphy palm print link.
Colm Murphy was one of the RUC’s initial main suspects and was referred to as Suspect A in a 2011 HET report.
Suspect A was believed to have been one of the gunmen in the Kingsmill attack, as well as one of those who hi-jacked the getaway minibus in the Republic of Ireland.
It is understood that Murphy was not masked whilst hi-jacking the vehicle.
It is now clear that the ‘game’ is on. The leak in the Sunday Independent, attempting to point the finger of suspicion at Sean ‘The Surgeon’ Hughes, is an attempt to create a smokescreen around Colm Murphy.