Haggarty recruited by Special Branch less than a year after joining UVF

Posted By: January 30, 2018

Distributed by Irish National Caucus

Gary Haggarty was a Special Branch informer for 11 years

Allison Morris. Belfast News. Tuesday, January 30, 2018 

GARY Haggarty was recruited as an RUC Special Branch informer less than a year after joining the ranks of the murderous Mount Vernon UVF when he was arrested for possession of ammunition.

Victims’ relatives expressed anger yesterday as it was confirmed the Loyalist supergrass could be freed within weeks despite pleading guilty to five murders and almost 200 other paramilitary crimes.

A 35-year jail term was reduced to six-and-a-half years for helping police and agreeing to give evidence against his former associates, although prosecution is only set to go ahead in one case.

With time served on remand Haggarty is now eligible to appear before parole commissioners to secure his release to a new life in witness protection.

The Irish News understands that he was first recruited by Special Branch in the early 1990s after being arrested for possession of a bag of bullets at a house in Glasgow Street in north Belfast.
Detectives from CID had already charged Haggarty when they were outranked by Special Branch, who had all charges withdrawn.

He acted as an informer for 11 years but committed hundreds of offenses, including the murders of Catholic workmen Eamon Fox (44) and Gary Convie (24) as they had lunch together in a car in north Belfast in 1994.

Mr. Fox’s son Kieran hit out at the sentence yesterday, saying Haggarty was a paid state informer who was “allowed to kill at will.”

“What is justice in this country? It is just designed to look after the criminal,” he said.

Politicians also said justice had not been served.

PPS acting deputy director Michael Agnew said the discounts applied in such cases are difficult for victims, but “without it, convictions for the many offenses would not have been achieved.”
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said the PSNI “fully realize that there will be many questions surrounding the Haggarty case.”
“However, as he is now a key witness in a forthcoming trial PSNI is now prevented by law from talking about this case.”