AN UNDERCOVER British police officer was allowed to take part in environmental protests in Dublin under an agreement between the Irish and British authorities.
Mark Kennedy is currently at the centre of a major row in Britain as a result of his double life as a green activist and a member of the national public order intelligence unit with the Metropolitan police.
It was revealed last week that Mr Kennedy was involved in protests over the Corrib gas pipeline in north Mayo and was also said to have taken part in other demonstrations against the use of Shannon airport by US military aircraft and the May Day clashes in Dublin in 2004.
Garda officers confirmed last night that they had been alerted in advance by British police that he wanted to take part in the demonstrations here to bolster his 'eco warrior' status.
They said his participation was in accordance with agreed protocols but he did not work for gardai while based in this country and did not have any communication with the force about his activities.
Gardai said his participation was accepted, provided he did not break the law.
Officers pointed out that in the recent past the FBI agent David Rupert had been allowed to operate here while he was infiltrating dissident terrorist organisation the Real IRA and his subsequent evidence to the Special Criminal Court played a key part in securing the conviction of renegade boss Michael McKevitt, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for directing an illegal organisation.
Mr Kennedy, whose wife and two children live in Kilbrin, near Kanturk, Co Cork, was known to protesters here and in Britain as Mark Stone and was nicknamed 'Flash'.
Garda chiefs are currently preparing a report on his activities here for new Justice Minister Brendan Smith.
The report was sought by former minister Dermot Ahern, who said that if Mr Kennedy had been active here, he would have been subject to Irish law, like any other person.
Mr Ahern appealed to anyone with information that suggested Mr Kennedy had broken the law to approach gardai.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has also been in touch with the British Embassy to seek clarification about his role in demonstrations here.
In March 2006, Mr Kennedy spent several days in north Mayo and offered advice on at a Shell-to-Sea protest workshop.
He also paid a visit to the home of Rossport Five member Willie Corduff with a group of British and Icelandic activists, who had arrived in the area to support the Corrib campaign.