RIRA planned Viagra heist

Smithwick tribunal, Irish Daily Star

Dissident republicans planned to fund a campaign of terror with the proceeds from the robbery of over one million Viagra tablets, a former undercover agent told the Smithwick tribunal.Photo: Smithwick tribunal of inquiry

Former British agent Peter Keeley (also known as Kevin Fulton) made the startling revelation at the tribunal, which is looking at allegations of Garda/IRA collusion.

Keeley said he was approached sometime after the Omagh bombing by dissident republican Patrick “Mooch” Blair, who told him he had access to the tablets.

Mr Blair, who was convicted of terrorist offences in 1975 and in 2003, previously told the tribunal that Keeley was “a fantasist” and never a member of the IRA.

Keeley told the inquiry he had previously infiltrated the IRA, and was working with Customs & Excise at the time of the planned Viagra heist.

“Mooch thought I was a drug dealer,” Keeley explained.

The agent said Blair asked him if he could find a buyer for the little blue tablets. With a street value of £10 each, the operation could have netted £10 million.

Keeley, a 51 year old Catholic from Newry, passed the information on to his handler, who asked him to get samples of the tablets

Blair then handed over a blister pack of the tablets, which were tested by British police and Garda scientists, who planned to swoop and make arrests when the heist went ahead.

But the scheme fell through, and barrister Michael Durack SC said the Garda fraud squad had no record of a planned viagra robbery.

The Smithwick tribunal was set up to look at claims of Garda collusion in the IRA ambush which killed two senior RUC officers, chief superintendent Harry Breen and superintendent Bob Buchanan, as they returned from a meeting in Dundalk garda station on 20 March 1989.

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