April 24th, 2014

RIRA gangster goes into hiding after losing Sunday World case

Northern IrelandBy Paula Mackin
Brendan Conway is now in hiding
Brendan Conway is now in hiding

THERE’S no hiding place. That’s our message to Real IRA boss Brendan Conway.


The rebel republican took us to the High Court in Belfast this week – and got the high jump from the judge, who threw out his bid to gag us.

Now he’s on the run from his former criminal cohorts who believed our report that he bugged cars which he passed over to dissident leaders.

The rebel republican has gone into hiding after last week’s landmark legal win that upheld the Freedom of the Press.

Conway’s plans to gag this newspaper have backfired spectacularly. The only thing he has achieved is throwing the spotlight upon himself even further and fuelling the belief among republican circles that he is a police informer.

For the Sunday World can reveal members of the dissident organisations have labelled Conway as ‘toxic’, and whatever was left of his dubious reputation now lies in shreds.

“Brendan Conway is finished, there isn’t a man who wants anything to do with him, he is toxic,” said one dissident source.

“Conway has gone to ground, nobody has seen him in over a week. Let’s hope he stays in the hole he has crawled into as he has no friends in the dissidents,” the source added.

Conway has been under serious pressure since the arrest of Colin Duffy and Alex McCrory.

In recent weeks they too have turned their backs on him, informing him they believe reports that he was responsible for supplying them with cars that were bugged by the PSNI.

Duffy and McCrory are currently awaiting trial alongside Harry Fitzsimmons on charges of IRA membership and plotting to kill members of the security forces. The bulk of the evidence gathered against them comes from secret recordings.

In the immediate aftermath of their arrest a panicked Conway visited Harry Fitzsimmons in Maghaberry prison to beg him to believe his claims that he was innocent.

He asked Fitzsimmons to speak to both McCrory and Duffy behind bars and convince them that he was not involved in the circumstances surrounding their arrest.

Conway was left to sweat for weeks before the message was delivered to him that both the alleged dissident bosses believed claims that he was involved.

Conway was out on his own and with no-one to turn to he looks set to disappear.

“The rank and file of the New RIRA do not like nor trust Conway, they  don’t want anything to do with him,” said a source. 

Sources say McCrory, Fitzsimmons and Duffy, who are hugely embarrassed by the circumstances surrounding their arrest, have sent word to members of the New Real IRA that they are to have no involvement with Conway as he is a state agent.


“It is in the public interest that investigative journalism should not be impeded where it is publishing legitimate information concerning serious criminal activity.” 

- Mr Justice Gillen 


Conway has failed to turn up at the vehicle recovery business which he owns. He also refuses to go into north Belfast.

Previously, due to his paranoia, he refused to work full shifts and when he was forced to fill in for one of his drivers he tried to disguise himself. 

He is also living in fear of being attacked by associates of murder victim Kevin Kearney, who have made it known they are out for revenge and have Conway in their sights.

The 39-year-old turned to the British judicial system to prevent us from labelling him as a police informer and highlighting his alleged involvement in the murder of North Belfast man Kevin Kearney.

His attempt failed.