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Feile security chief worked as Gerry Adams' bodyguard

By Liam Clarke

Published 12/08/2015

Prominent republican John Trainor is the director of Island Events
Prominent republican John Trainor is the director of Island Events

A former republican prisoner and one-time bodyguard of Gerry Adams has been revealed as the director of the company that provided security at Feile an Phobail in west Belfast.

John Trainor, the director of Island Events, last came to public prominence on suspicion of republican activity at Christmas 2004 when a flat he used was one of a number raided in the wake of the £26.5m Northern Bank robbery.

The IRA has always denied the raid, however the security forces north and south as well as the two governments at the time insisted the IRA intelligence department carried out what was the biggest bank robbery in British or Irish history.

It was the latest in a series of robberies, the others were at docks and in warehouses. The IRA was thought by police to have carried them out for "settle down" money after the campaign.

The term meant money designed to provide incomes for the republican movement, its former prisoners and their dependents.

Security sources believed that the IRA's thinking was that it had to provide for itself as there would be no pensions, as there are for civil servants or members of the security forces.

This was never proven and nobody was ever convicted of taking part in the robbery, though there were convictions for having proceeds in the Republic.

Mr Trainor himself was not at home when the police called at 9.30am and he was never charged.

He was, however, described as "the intelligence officer of the IRA's Belfast brigade" at the time.

Another prominent republican, Eddie Copeland from Ardoyne, was also raided and was described in court as a senior IRA figure in north Belfast.

Mr Trainor has since become a prominent businessman.

He also owns Stix and Stones, a plush restaurant in the old tax office in Belfast's Queen Street, which is rated "excellent" by Trip Advisor. Other recently established companies he is a director of include JNJ Inns, set up on January 23 this year, and JT Management Services, set up in March 2012.

All are registered at 26 Linenhall Street.

Island Events, set up in July of last year, still has no premises. It pays no rates and has no mortgages either, but it is approved to carry out "door supervision" contracts for the Home Office.

His former security company, Locktight Security Services, was dissolved in 2006.

Mr Trainor's partner, the only other director, is Tony Donnelly, a civil servant in his mid-30s.

Mr Donnelly said yesterday: "I haven't spoken to John today but I will try and get him to contact you. He is my business partner in the security company but it is only a casual thing when events are on, it is not full-time for either of us."

"I am still in the Civil Service. I'm too young to retire but me and John own the company."

Asked about Mr Trainor's success in starting such a major company after being an IRA suspect he replied "most security firms in the north here have an element of ex-prisoners with them".

Other areas where prominent republicans have been involved in providing security include Londonderry.

There Estate Services, which did the security for Derry City of Culture and many other events, is subject to an internal council investigation.

In July a report found that an estimated £124,000 was paid to the company without proper tendering processes.

Estate Services is the largest security firm in the city.

Its directors include Christopher Pinta McKnight, a leading republican, while Willie McGuinness, a brother of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, is a founder and former director of the security firm.

Belfast Telegraph

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