Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Bobby Storey: 'Enforcer' is a key ally of Gerry Adams

Bobby Storey (left) with Martin McGuinness and Martina Anderson at the Falls Road rally on Saturday
Bobby Storey (left) with Martin McGuinness and Martina Anderson at the Falls Road rally on Saturday

As the man believed to be the IRA's former head of intelligence, Bobby Storey's word is law in republican terms.

After spending 20 years in jail in total – almost all on remand charges – his reputation as a peace process 'enforcer' within the republican community is impeccable.

And the senior Belfast Sinn Fein figure from the north of the city, who joined the IRA aged just 16, is not seen as someone to tangle with.

The IRA veteran played a key role in the Maze prison break of 1983, the biggest in British penal history, when 38 republican prisoners broke out of the H Blocks. Captured, Storey was given an additional seven years.

Now an important ally of Gerry Adams, Storey was seen as key to securing the IRA ceasefires – although he has often been accused of placing them in jeopardy since then.

More recently, he was linked to the Northern Bank robbery of December 2004.

The equivalent of £26.5m was stolen, making the Belfast heist the largest in UK history at the time.

His west Belfast home was also raided in 2002 after a massive security breach, when hundreds of Special Branch files containing details about informers were stolen from Castlereagh police station.

However, the IRA and Sinn Fein denied involvement in every episode, and emerged relatively unscathed.

Storey was also involved in the events preceding the unmasking of Sinn Fein Stormont adviser Denis Donaldson as a British spy.

Special Branch planned to trap Storey handling stolen intelligence documents – but the plot failed.

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