Derry Saoradh member claims Mi5 Bristol approach

Two members of Saoradh have claimed they were harassed by the British security services when returning from a conference in Britain.

Friday, 28th February 2020, 12:01 pm

National Executive member, Paddy Gallagher, and Saoradh Doire member, Pete Cavanagh, attended an Ireland-Palestine solidarity event in Bristol at the weekend. Mr. Gallagher, Saoradh’s national P.R.O., claims he was subjected to an Mi5 recruitment approach when attempting to travel back to Ireland after the conference.

In a statement Saoradh said Mr. Gallagher was taken to a small box room in Bristol Airport where “a male and female aged in their 50s with English accents awaited”.

“They claimed to be working for British Military Intelligence and stated that Paddy could ‘help them out with information about Derry’. The two Mi5 agents made numerous references to people and events that have taken place in Derry and spoke about the conference that both Saoradh members attended the previous evening. Having laughed in their faces and ferociously made clear he was leaving the room, the British spies made an ominous threat that they will be seeing Paddy soon,” the statement claimed.

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mr. Cavanagh was stopped under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

“Bristol Police attempted to question Pete on his recent visit to the city but following a refusal to answer, he was read ‘Schedule 7’ twice with Bristol Police threatening to hold him for up to six hours,” said Saoradh. The ‘Journal’ asked the Home Office and the Avon and Somerset police force for a response to Saoradh’s claims.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases. The Government’s priority is the safety and security of the UK, and the use of Schedule 7 powers is a vital tool for the police.”