Pro-IRA ‘comms’ show dissident paranoia over informer

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The police have released a transcript of ‘comms’ smuggled into Maghaberry for a leading Londonderry dissident republican last year.

The note penned by Thomas Ashe Mellon (39), of Rathmore Road, and smuggled into the jail by William McDonnell (28) from Culaduff Gardens, was written on cigarette papers, joined together, and wrapped in cling film, before an attempted transfer to republican prisoners, last June.

Releasing the illicit communications Detective Superintendent Karen Baxter, from Serious Crime Branch, said: “The contents of the note provide some insight into the thinking of those individuals linked to dissident terrorist activity, their objectives and their insecurities.”

The note reveals concerns about the presence of an informer within the republican movement.

It reads: “But anyhow from what we know [redacted] has questions to answer. But the problem is there is f**k ups all over this, so to determine who is the Brussel [Brussels sprout: tout] is very hard.”

It also expressed concern about incontinent prison visitors saying more than their prayers when paying visits to republican prisoners in Maghaberry.

Thomas Mellon.

Thomas Mellon.

“Comrade I fell that too much talk/shite is being said on visits. I know that a certain amount has to be said but things that visitors are coming out and saying is just ludicrous.

“Have a word that POWs should not engage in loose talk e.g. [redacted] telling people that [redacted] was followed the whole day before he was lifted.

“[redacted] coming up and saying to me I hear you have a new job congratulations.

“I told him that’s a joke and not true.”

William McDonnell

William McDonnell

There’s also discussion of the pending funeral arrangements for an unnamed dissident republican, thought to be Tony Catney, who died last August.

“The arrangements around [redacted] funeral when it happens are more or less sorted.

“Hard to talk with [redacted]. I will not allow any dual army operating along with the IRA and us not knowing anything. But hopefully all sorted.

“Very hard work but I keep going - [redacted] would be obvious choice to give the oration but we are swaying towards [redacted].

“She is out and out militant Republican.

“I know [redacted] said to [redacted] to ask [redacted] but we shall see.

“Be assured he will not be let down and we will do our best by him.”

Catney’s funeral eulogy was composed by republican prisoners in Roe House.

The note also appears to express support for IRA violence.

“If things had worked out right we would be cheering on the army after a couple of stiffs bear with us comrade you know that had [sic] we have been dealt and the cards we are playing with.”

Mellon and McDonnell pleaded guilty to having the note in June last year.

McDonnell was searched on his way into Maghaberry prison on June 5 to visit an inmate.

Police have issued a photo of the note and a redacted transcript of its contents along with images of the two defendants. Mellon was sentenced to two years and four months, McDonnell was given 12 months. Both sentences are to be served half in jail, followed by half on licence.

Both defendants will also be subject to a Terrorist Notification Order for 10 years which helps monitor their movements.

Earlier this week Mellon was found not guilty of directing terrorism and being a member of the IRA.

Superintendent Baxter said: “Anyone who becomes involved in activity linked to terrorism should be in no doubt that police are determined to use every lawful opportunity to reduce the harm they pose to our community by putting evidence before the courts and allowing the criminal justice system to keep people safe.”