Potential victims in Ireland are put on alert as phone hacking scandal widens
Fears over the extent of illegal phone hacking by the News of the World have spread to Northern Ireland and the Republic as police pinpointed two alleged Irish victims.
A bereaved father and a leading journalist were both warned in recent days by the Metropolitan Police that they may have been hacking victims.
Officers are now investigating whether the mobile phone voicemails of Sean Cassidy, the father of a 7/7 London bombing victim, and award-winning Northern Ireland journalist Greg Harkin, had been illegally accessed.
Cavan man Sean Cassidy was shocked to be told by police his phone may have been hacked after his son Ciaran died in the bombings, as he prepared to mark the sixth anniversary of the atrocity today.
"It was just disbelief," he said last night. "We gave them (the News of the World) open interviews... so they were on our side," said Mr Cassidy.
Mr Harkin, former editor of the Irish Sunday People and Belfast-based Daily View, was also told by police that records were being examined to see whether his mobile telephone was hacked after he wrote a book about the IRA informer codenamed 'Stakeknife' in 2004.
Mr Harkin said his lawyers were told by the Met that officers were checking records seized from private investigators who worked for the News of the World to see if they contained any reference to him or his mobile number.
"I was taken aback by this development as I had worked for the News of the World in the past, and the idea that they could have been hacking me after I left is incredible," he said.
He said officers showed him a seven-page fax, containing a number of his emails, which was sent to the News of the World's Dublin office in July 2006.