Category: Archive

SF nets 14k for mI5 bug

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The device, which Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams famously presented to British prime minister Tony Blair at the high-profile Leeds Castle negotiations in England last September, went on-line two weeks ago to coincide with the publication of the IMC report on on-going paramilitary activity.

The device was sold with a framed hand-written letter from Adams.

“On September 13th, 2004, at a very sensitive time in the peace process, a sophisticated bugging device was found hidden in Sinn Fein offices in Connolly House, Belfast,” reads Adams’ letter.

“This was the second device found in Belfast within ten days. Martin McGuinness and I returned the Connolly House device to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the peace talks in Leeds Castle, England.”

Sinn Fein claimed it came equipped with two micro-phones — one which pointed towards an office, another towards a meeting room. The unwieldy item included dozens of batteries and a number of transmitters.

Adams said he was notified of the bug’s discovery the same afternoon he had been involved in sensitive discussions with officials from the British and Irish governments.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

“The use of such a highly sophisticated bug was a very serious act of bad faith by the British government,” said Adams at the time. “It highlights the continuing hypocrisy of a British system which uses its enormous resources to spy on its political opponents.”

Earlier this year head of MI5, Eliza Mannigham-Butler, admitted to bugging the building.

Initially offered to bidders on E-Bay, the bug was moved to Sinn Fein’s online book-store after the internet auctioneer refused to continue hosting it. The company claimed its sale contravened clauses 6.2 and 9 of its user-agreement.

Sinn Fein said the removal of the item was a “clumsy attempt at censorship.” Party chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said he suspected that the same people who planted the bug had been behind an attempt to put pressure on E-Bay.

“There was widespread interest in the auction in Ireland and in many countries across the world, something which obviously made MI5 deeply uncomfortable,” he said.

Sinn Fein has said the sale was a “serious attempt to shine a light on the ongoing activities of British security agencies in Ireland” and that all proceeds would go towards the pursuit of a United Ireland.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese