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British policeman infiltrated radical protest groups

Scott Millar - Irish Examiner

AN undercover British police officer who infiltrated a radical environmental movement encouraged illegal activity during protests opposing the controversial Shell Corrib pipe-line in north Mayo, an Irish Examiner investigation has revealed.

PC Mark Kennedy, whose identity was revealed when he was confronted by environmental activists last year, also took part in a violent confrontation with gardaí in Dublin on May Day 2004.

The officer, who lived undercover in Nottingham for seven years from 2003, visited Ireland on at least four occasions. During 2004 he attended the Grassroots Gathering in Dublin in April, Mayday protests in Dublin, and an Anti-Bush protest in Shannon in June. He visited the Shell Corrib protests in March 2006.

On these occasions PC Kennedy, using the alias Mark Stone, met with activists and encouraged confrontation rather than peaceful protest.

Last night, Labour Foreign Affairs spokesman Micheal D Higgins called on the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to issue a statement on the undercover Metropolitan Police officer’s activities in Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs to take the matter up with the British ambassador.

A Dublin-based activist said he got to know the police officer during anti-G8 protests in Stirling, Scotland, in 2005, when PC Kennedy drove activists in his van to take part in "direct action" protests. The activist said: "He stayed with me in March 2006 when he was in Ireland to visit the Rossport protests in Mayo.

"He spoke about his involvement in ‘direct action’ planning. In any conversations he had with me he was supportive of direct action, even if it was illegal."

Another activist said that PC Kennedy was present in a house in north Dublin that was raided by gardaí in April 2004 but was not arrested.

PC Kennedy first adopted the fake identity Mark Stone in 2003, pretending to be a professional climber, and was issued with a fake passport and driving licence. Then aged 33, he grew long hair and sported earrings and tattoos, and began attending almost every major political demonstration in Britain.

The Department of Justice was contacted by the Irish Examiner in October 2010 and asked to comment on the issue of Kennedy’s activities. A spokesman said; "The department has no information in relation to these allegations." Further inquires yesterday met with no response from the department.