A former MI5 spy who infiltrated Sinn Fein believes a full scale inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane will not happen as information aired could reach into the highest levels of government.
illie Carlin, an ex-British Army solider who spent 12 years as an agent inside the party, linked the UK Government’s refusal to hold an inquiry to the case of Freddie Scappaticci, or Stakeknife, the IRA double agent.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has said that a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of the Belfast solicitor will not happen “at this time”.
Mr Carlin, who infiltrated Sinn Fein in Derry City at a time when Martin McGuinness was a senior member of the IRA, believes no Conservative government will air what he describes as “dirty washing”, claiming this could have a “domino effect”.
“I never expected there would be a public inquiry. These things have a way of playing themselves out, with the Conservatives in particular,” Mr Carlin told the Sunday Mail in Scotland. “They don’t want dirty washing aired – it’s always the same.”
Mr Carlin linked the case to that of Scappaticci, a double agent who for years led the IRA’s “nutting squad” and is believed to have been involved in dozens of murders.
Mr Scappaticci has denied being Stakeknife.
“It’s a bit like Stakeknife. He was authorised to do what he was doing by his commander,” Mr Carlin told the newspaper.
“His commander was authorised to do it by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State knew about it and told the Minister of Defence.
“If you put Scappaticci in court, everything else falls and that is the way it works – you can get a domino effect. There is self-preservation at play.”
In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year, Mr Carlin credited Stakeknife with saving his life as he believes the double agent tipped off his handlers after Mr Carlin’s cover was blown.
Mr Carlin is still in hiding more than three decades after his cover was blown and was flown out of Northern Ireland on Margaret Thatcher’s private jet.
The 72-year-old last year published his life story Thatcher’s Spy: My Life As An MI5 Agent Inside Sinn Fein.
Yesterday Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill accused the British Government of frustrating efforts to seek the truth about its role in the Troubles by denying a public inquiry.
“The British Government’s refusal to honour its commitment and legal obligation to hold a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane typifies its approach to dealing with the past,” she said. “This is a case where it is clear and acknowledged by all that the British state was intimately involved in colluding with loyalist death squads in murder.”
Meanwhile, First Minister Arlene Foster has written to Taoiseach Micheal Martin calling for a “fresh examination” into possible links between Irish state agencies, including the Garda, and the IRA.
Ms Foster mentioned the Smithwick Tribunal investigation into the 1989 murders of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan as they crossed the border following a meeting at Dundalk Garda Station. Mr Justice Peter Smithwick concluded the IRA were passed information from the station.