inside man New image released of 'MI5 spy' Dennis McFadden - the agent who infiltrated the New IRA
A new photograph of an alleged MI5 agent has been broadcast for the first time, showing him acting undercover.
Channel 4 News has been investigating the role of alleged agent Dennis McFadden in Operation Arbacia, a major police and MI5 surveillance investigation that has led to a raft of terror charges in Northern Ireland.
Some of those facing charges are alleged to be in the leadership of the New IRA.
Friends and the lawyer of one of the defendants, Scottish Palestinian GP Dr Issam Bassalat (62) from Edinburgh, told the news programme last night that he was “entrapped” by an MI5 agent.
“Dr Bassalat was clearly pestered by who we now believe was an MI5 private agent,” his solicitor Gavin Booth told the show.
Mr Booth claims his client was “lured” from Scotland to Belfast by the MI5 agent, and believed that he was giving a public talk on Palestine.
Dr Bassalat is accused of addressing a meeting of the New IRA at a safehouse in Co Tyrone.
His lawyer told Channel 4 News he has seen transcripts of the recordings made at an alleged meeting of the New IRA and that “everything that’s contained within the transcripts and the recordings is about Palestine, is about peaceful and democratic change. There’s nothing in the transcripts from Dr Bassalat that would support violence in any way”.
Dr Bassalat is expected to face a non-jury trial, alongside nine other defendants accused of being members of the New IRA.
On Wednesday night Mr McFadden was shown on television at the home of dissident republican Brendan McConville (42) in 2013, apparently attending a briefing between McConville’s lawyer and his family.
McConville was one of two people convicted of murdering police officer Stephen Carroll in 2009. He unsuccessfully appealed the verdict four years later.
Mr McFadden had presented himself to the McConville family as a campaigner against miscarriages of justice and was a director of the campaign group Justice Watch Ireland.
McConville and his family claimed Dennis McFadden infiltrated their own campaign — known as Justice for the Craigavon Two — and as a result the conviction should be rendered unsafe.
Speaking on the phone from Maghaberry Prison, McConville told Channel 4 News: “I believe he sabotaged my appeal. I felt that he had a real genuine concern on justice. Little did I know that it was the hand of MI5.”
The McConville family also claim the MI5 man took control of their social media campaign and refused to give them the passwords.
Following the unveiling in court of McFadden as an alleged MI5 agent, McConville’s lawyers have now submitted a file to the Criminal Cases Review Commission calling for a fresh appeal in a bid for the conviction to be deemed unsafe.
A Government spokesperson said: “We do not comment on ongoing legal proceedings”