Army logs identify informer who gave

Posted By: July 06, 2020

 tip-off that led to raiD

Paper Trail: Researcher Ciarán MacAirt

WHILE it was previously suspected that Official IRA weapons found in a house at Balkan Street in west Belfast on July 3 1970 were discovered after a tip-off, details which identify the informer have now been uncovered.

They are contained in British army logs recently discovered by researcher Ciarán MacAirt, right, from the charity Paper Trail.

It is understood the person responsible for providing the information is still alive.

Details relating to the case have been redacted by the charity, which presented relatives of those killed during the Falls Curfew imposed followed the raid with a copy of the log this week.

The entry written 50 years ago reads: “RUC tip [redacted information] Balkan Street, Lower Falls, that there may be weapons and explosives hidden in the house.

“We are going into search in conjunction with RUC, ATO required at Springfield Road. RUC to assist.”

Mr McAirt said his charity took the decision to redact the sensitive information.

“Even though these have been vetted by the British Ministry of Defence and made available in public archives, the charity has redacted,” he said.

The logs offer a rare insight into how the British army were making decisions before and after the start of the curfew.

It also confirms that there was more than one informer supplying the security forces with information during the military operation.

Several hours later the log shows that a former soldier also supplied information about weapons.

“Ex army man warned that ambulance 2527 MZ seen going to Falls area with arms,” it reads.

At 4.50 the following day the log shows that a call was received to say that arms were being transported out of the area in prams.

“Man rang [redacted] to say guns being moved in prams from fol [following streets] Urney, Wilson Cupar, Canmore, Argyll over the Shankill into Berliner St.”

At around 12.30 the next morning the documents show that a journalist was also providing authorities with information including identifying the location of where republicans were organising their own operations.

“Irish pressman believes business being org [organised] from [redacted] by [redacted],” the log reads.

Later the log claims that another journalist was also providing information, including claims that the British army’s most senior officer Lieutenant General Ian Freeland was being targeted on his route home.

The log also reveals that the British army public relations officer (PRO) passed on information provided to him from an Irish Times reporter about a planned parade, believed to be linked by attempts by a group of women in west Belfast to break the curfew, which was due to take place.

It also confirms that a bar owned by the father of former president of Ireland Mary McAleese in Leeson Street in west Belfast was also searched during the curfew.