Belfast Telegraph

Billy Wright inquiry ‘exposed MI5 agent within INLA’s ranks’

By Patrice Dougan

The Belfast Telegraph understands the inquiry into the death of loyalist leader Billy Wright revealed the INLA had an MI5 agent within its ranks.

Details have emerged indicating the INLA was able to identify a spy working within its organisation as part of the Wright inquiry.

News of the agent came to light last night as UTV broadcast an hour-long special programme ahead of the inquiry’s findings due to be released today.

In it were claims intelligence information which emerged during the inquiry helped it identify an MI5 agent within its movement. As the group was preparing to disarm, it chose not to kill the spy. But the INLA has always denied claims there was collusion between Wright’s killers and the state to have him executed.

That was still the message last night as Willie Gallagher, speaking for the Republican Socialist Movement — linked to the political wing of the INLA — said: “Expect no revelations in relation to collusion as we know it in relation to the INLA volunteers at any level having direct contact with any state agency in relation to

the operation itself — none whatsoever.”

Describing the killing as “an excellent operation”, he said he had “absolutely no regrets whatsoever in relation to the death of Billy Wright”.

He said guns were smuggled into the prison “very easily” as “authorities had lost full control of the jail” at the time of Wright’s murder.

Former UDA ‘brigadier’ Jackie McDonald described the killing as a “disgrace”, but said the former UVF man and LVF leader “meant nothing to me”. He said he was unconvinced by rumours about collusion into Wright’s death.

“People say there’s collusion, but you have to understand the system — if they were short-staffed (in the prison) and needed somebody to drive the van to visits or needed somebody to be in the visits, the first place they took them from was the tower and once you know that then you can plan an attack,” he said.

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