29 September 2005

They haven’t gone away, you know

Daily Ireland

Connla Young
28 September 2005

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Lorraine Murphy
Just days after the IRA decommissioned its weapons, evidence has emerged that points to an ongoing intelligence war by British forces in the North.
As the world's media descended on Belfast to report on the IRA's historic move, residents in a Co Tyrone town were caught up in the murky world of the British army's intelligence-gathering web.
In a dramatic series of events last week, the family home of Kevin and Lorraine Murphy in Coalisland became the centrepiece of a controversy that appears to lift the lid on the British government's continued use of covert operations in the North.
The couple, who got married earlier this month, returned to their home last Friday to discover that neighbours had disturbed what they suspect to be an undercover British army unit trying to install a monitoring device in the couple’s home.
During the incident, the area where the couple live was swamped by PSNI men. The officers arrived to rescue two balaclava-clad men who had pointed a gun at a local man who tried to challenge them after the pair were detected moving through the couple's empty home.
Locals say several PSNI members entered the couple's home and escorted two men carrying holdalls from the premises to a Land Rover parked in the house’s front garden.
A PSNI spokesperson last night said the force was “aware of an incident" at the couple's home last week but refused to elaborate further.
A spokesperson for the Police Ombudsman's Office confirmed that the office was investigating an “alleged incident" at the couple's unoccupied house.
In June last year, Kevin Murphy was acquitted along with three other men of conspiracy to murder and having a rocket launcher in Coalisland in February 2002.
During his trial, it emerged that Co Armagh man Gareth O'Connor was suspected of luring Mr Murphy to the scene and had been in contact with the PSNI by a mobile phone supplied by the force.
Speaking to Daily Ireland last night, Lorraine Murphy, who lived in the house with her two children until her marriage earlier this month, said she believes the British Army was behind the incident.
“I have no doubt it was them," she said.
“Nothing was taken by these men and there was evidence of work being done. There are pieces of felt missing from the roof and dust located around a skirting board, as if it had been removed and put on again. It is my belief they knew Kevin was moving in here and they were trying to bug the house. I have lived here for 11 years and I am speaking out as the householder.
“There is no acceptable reason for somebody to be in this house. They had no reason to be there. I am disgusted by this. It just doesn't seem like my own house any more. I don't know whether these people planted this bug before they were disturbed and now I feel as if I'm living in the Big Brother House."
She said her car had also been tampered with in recent weeks. The couple's solicitor Peter Corrigan last night said he was very concerned about the development. “This incident requires a complete investigation. It was a terrifying experience for the man who had a gun pointed at him. I have been in touch with the PSNI and they have confirmed there was an incident but they will not give any more details even though I am the householder's solicitor. There may also have been a breach of Article 8 of the human rights convention which protects people's privacy."
A spokesman for the British Army last night responded angrily to the bugging claim.
“You are asking me to respond to allegations of an occurrence of which there is no corroboration. Why has she [Mrs Murphy] leapt to the conclusion that it's the British Army if indeed the event took place?"



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