Kevin Myers: Wicked men played games with people's lives in North
Published 04/02/2010 | 05:00
It is one of the great regrets of my journalistic life that nobody ever asked me to be an informer, reporting on THE VITAL THINGS I KNEW to my handler (as we say in the business).
For the absence of any such approaches simply means that no one thought I was knowledgeable enough, or useful enough or reliable enough to be employed in the hush-hush world of espionage. Not that I would have been tempted to accept: I am far too visible and indiscreet to be of much value in that line of work. But like the lesbian at the heterosexual orgy, I would just have liked to have been asked, that's all.
Anyway, we now know that probably half the paramilitary leaders of the North were informers, working for British army intelligence, Special Branch, 14th Int and MI5. It was always said by republicans in West Belfast that no one should ever report even a child abuser to the RUC, because Special Branch would simply use the man (always a man in those innocent days) as an informer. I dismissed such a dim view of the police as warped, cynical and depraved. In fact, it was entirely justified. That's just what Special Branch did.