Irish leader used British-supplied bugs to spy on opponents: book

Charles Haughey

Charles Haughey

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Charles Haughey, Ireland’s Taoiseach (head of government) in the late 1970s, and on two instances in the 1980s, used audio surveillance devices supplied by a British security officer to spy on his domestic political opponents. This allegation is made by George Clarke, a former officer in the Special Branch of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (the name of the British police force in Northern Ireland until 2001), in his book Border Crossing, which was published last week. In it, Clarke says he purchased the devices at a specialist store in London, in 1979, and later lent them to an intelligence officer in the Garda, the police of the Republic of Ireland, for use in spy operations against the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Several months later, however, when Clarke requested that the devices be returned to him, he was told that they were in the possession of Charles Haughey, and that he was so fond of them that he simply refused to give them back. According to the book, when a senior Garda commander approached the Taoiseach, and requested that the surveillance devices be returned to Clarke, Haughey replied: “[t]hese gadgets have changed the course of Irish political history and taught me a lesson –that in life things are never as they seem. In politics, one must have a Machiavellian personality, it is crucial to know your friends”. It now appears unlikely that Haughey, a controversial leader of center-right Fianna Fáil, ever utilized the bugs against the IRA. In 1970, Haughey was one of two Irish cabinet ministers who were sacked for allegedly planning to purchase and smuggle into Ireland arms to be used by the IRA.

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

2 Responses to Irish leader used British-supplied bugs to spy on opponents: book

  1. seamus says:

    I’d believe anything about Haughey, He was a banana republican extraordinaire and capable of any venality and corruption. But this quote from him makes this charge look like a hoax…“[t]hese gadgets have changed the course of Irish political history and taught me a lesson –that in life things are never as they seem. In politics, one must have a Machiavellian personality, it is crucial to know your friends”.

    Its just a bit too cinematic, like it was said because he knew it would make a good quote in a book some day.

  2. Calum says:

    Either that or Haughey was drunk!

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