07 April 2006

IRA double agent arrested in Holyhead


Apr 7 2006

Prosecution chiefs in Northern Ireland are to study a file on a Real IRA double agent questioned over a series of terrorist attacks prior to the Omagh bomb massacre.

Paddy Dixon, 42, was arrested by police in Holyhead, North Wales.

He was handed over to detectives in Northern Ireland and interviewed about serious terrorist crime.

Although Dixon was released yesterday, a police spokeswoman confirmed a report will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Alasdair Fraser.

The Dublin man, who was at one time living under a police protection scheme, was an Irish Special Branch informer who was asked to provide a car by the organisation which bombed Omagh in August 1998, killing 29 people.

Days before the atrocity he was told the car he was asked to supply was not needed.

But he later emerged as a key intelligence figure in the cross-border police investigation to track down the bomb gang.

He was held on Tuesday for questioning about dissident republican attacks across Northern Ireland in the months before Omagh as part of what became known as a linked inquiry.

Dixon, a former car thief who stole to order, first for the Provisional IRA and then later for dissident republicans opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process, worked for Detective Sergeant John White, who himself became embroiled in corruption allegations against the Garda in County Donegal where he was once based.

Dixon, fearing for his life from republican dissidents, later quit Ireland to live in Britain with a new identity.

But detectives involved in the Omagh investigation had been under pressure from relatives of the dead and injured to have him arrested.

It is understood he was questioned about car and mortar bombings in Banbridge, County Down, Markethill, County Armagh, Newry, County Down, Armagh City and Belleek, County Fermanagh.

In September, south Armagh man Sean Hoey, 36, is due to stand trial in Belfast for the murders of the 29 people killed in Omagh.

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