Thursday 19 January 2017

New McGuinness would have left old foe amazed

Published 24/09/2011 | 05:00

ONE of the few times I ever had a glimpse of the real heart of the security establishment in Northern Ireland came in 1987, when I got to meet the head of the RUC Special Branch, Chief Superintendent Brian Fitzsimons.

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It was not usual for journalists to get to reach figures in such sensitive posts as Mr Fitzsimons, who was later to die in the Mull of Kintyre Chinook helicopter crash which killed several dozen security personnel. My chance to see him came because I was showing a 'New York Times' reporter round Belfast. When he asked for a security briefing I got to sit in.

When asked who the IRA's chief of staff was, the Special Branch head gave an unexpected reply which is already on record in the book 'Endgame', written by Eamonn Mallie and myself.

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