THE BRITISH secret services knowingly abandoned one of its informers to be executed by the IRA after a major weapons find in Sligo.
The BBC also now claims he and others were sacrificed -- to protect British paid agents higher up in the IRA.
Those sacrificed included Frank Hegarty, noted the BBC ''Panorama'' special documentary broadcast late last night, Tuesday.
was IRA quartermaster Hegarty who pinpointed the haul of assault rifles
found in a Garda raid at Coolera, between Sligo and Strandhill in
Prior to last night's programme, the presenter John Ware reported on his extensive research into the case of Frank Hegarty.
In new details, he revealed how the Britsh secret service listened, at the time, to phone calls between Hegarty in England and his family back in Derry.
Writing in The Irish Times yesterday, Tuesday,
Ware claimed that over a period of thirteen weeks, the late Martin
McGuinness had visited the Hegarty home on an almost daily basis.
This was at the time Hegarty had left his native Derry and gone to England right after the Sligo arms find of January 1986.
Hegarty was a double agent -- 'run' by a branch of British Army military intelligence called the Force Research Unit (FRU).
Ware wrote: ''Former FRU operatives have maintained that if ever they
were in a position to save an agent, they always would.
''However, this sits oddly with the intelligence available to them from inside the IRA unit, the so-called Nutting Squad.
"It was responsible for interrogating and executing fellow British agents such as Hegarty,'' noted the reporter.
The BBC documented that one of the Nutting Squad's members – and from the late 1980s its head – was Freddie Scappaticci.
reality,'' said Ware, ''he was also Agent 6126 – codenamed Stakeknife –
who had worked as an agent for the FRU since 1979.''
Added Ware: ''Better than anyone, Scappaticci knew the fate facing Frank Hegarty.''
there was no attempt to warn him during the 3½ weeks he was in Derry
after his return from England,'' wrote Ware.
Hegarty was later executed by the IRA along the Donegal, Tyrone border shortly after he came home from England.
He was shot in the head and his hands were tied behind his back. See link below.
son Ryan recalled on TV last night of learning his father's death
watching a BBC news bulletin and recognised the clothes the dead man was
the Sligo arms find, Frank Hegarty had been taken by the British
security services to a safe house in Sittingbourne, Kent, it has
That new detail was also unearthed by the BBC whIle researching last night's ''Panorama'' special.
yesterday, Ware also wrote that the British secret services could have
intervened to save the lives of several double agents who were in the
Ware: ''While McGuinness may have lured Hegarty back, the intelligence
services stand accused of knowingly abandoning him, even though he had
risked his life by disclosing the location of a major Libyan-supplied
But for many years the British even denied they 'ran' such double agents.
English police officer John Stevens recalled his role when he came to
Ireland to investigate allegations of collusion involving security
Stevens told last night's BBC documentary the British Army had told him ''flat lies.''
A number of men were arrested in other parts of the country after munitions from the Sligo dump were found on their land.
This has long given suspicion that those IRA weapons had been fitted with sophisticated bugs.
The modern assault rifles found in Sligo were believed to be the among the first guns to arrive in Ireland directly from Libya.
boxes of ammunition seized in county Sligo had 'Libyan Armed Forces'
and 'Destination Tripoli' stamped on them, a 2006 book noted.
author was Sean Boyne -- also a writer for ''Janes Intelligence
Review'' -- and his book was titled: ''Gunrunners - The Covert Arms
Trail to Ireland.''
shiploads of high powered weaponry were later landed along the east
coast but ended when a fifth vessel was intercepted with tons of
weapons and an associated 2,000 kg of Semtex explosive were dispersed
to smaller dumps and underground bunkers around Ireland.