British intelligence officer claims McGuinness authorised human bomb strategy

Smithwick tribunal

Martin McGuinness authorised the use of “human bombs” during the troubles, a former British intelligence officer has claimed.Photo: Smithwick tribunal of inquiry

The allegations were made by Ian Hurst (also known as Martin Ingram) at the Smithwick tribunal.

Deputy First Minister McGuinness authorised the deadly plans as OC Northern Command of the Provisional IRA, Hurst told the inquiry into allegations of Garda collusion.

Hurst said that in his senior position, McGuinness would have had to sanction a range of major operations.

“Human bombs” or were forced to drive car bombs to British army checkpoints in the early 1990s.

The tactic, also known as “proxy bombs”, was abandoned because of widespread outrage.

Hurst sad McGuinness’s claim to have left the IRA in the 1970s were lies, and that in fact he was a member of the Army Council for mamy years.

And he said McGinness was “responsible for controlling Freddie Scappaticci”. Scappaticci, a Belfast republican, enies he is the high profile British agent known as Stakeknife.

“McGuinness controlled Northern Command,” Hurst told the inquiry. “He controlled it for the vast majority of the time, contrary to what he would have you believe that he left the IRA in the 1970s. That is not true. He was a member of the Northern Command of the Provisional IRA council responsible for controlling people like Scappaticci.”

Hurst said British intelligence operated on a 32 county basis in Ireland, and gathered information from a range of sources including politicians, gardai, customs officers and members of the army.

And he said a member of An Garda in Donegal would travel to Ballymena, providing information for which he was paid about £60 a time.

The Smithwick Tribunal exploring allegations that members of An Garda Siochanan collluded with the IRA in the 1989 killing of two senior RUC officers, chief superintendent Harry Breen and superintendent Bob Buchanan, as they returned from a visit to Dundalk Garda station.

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