The security forces here would be very concerned about agents from an another country operating in this jurisdiction…. I can confirm to the Deputy that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade will meet with the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, here in Dublin next week to discuss this matter. I do not have any further details I can put before the House now. The Minister will make a statement following his meeting.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, 8th Feb 2017
I find it shocking that via my solicitor Darragh Mackin of KRW Law I have informed the Minister of Justice about such issues via legal letters dated 17 May 2016 and again on 20 December 2016,4 yet to date I have received no reply although both letters were even reported in the media.
Sarah Hampton in email to Enda Kenny, Charlie Flanagan and Frances Fitzgerald 12th Feb 2017
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Its been a fairly rough fortnight for the individuals in government, the ‘leaders’ dealing with the fallout of what happens when the nature of policing as it exists in the state today becomes ongoing public conversation.
Nowhere near as rough as its has been over the years to those seeking simply to make public what the institution of An Garda Siochana get up to. Lost somewhat in the mix is the momentum building for the Irish state to open up about the role of secret British undercover policing units working in Ireland.
There are of course distinctions to be made between vindictive, inter-agency retaliations against police whistle-blowers from within the force -such as we now know was meted out to Maurice McCabe and David Taylor and others yet to come to light – and the specific vindictive secret political policing waged against people involved in political, environmental and social justice struggles.
What they have in common is though it the deep desire of institutional power centres such as police forces to keep secret what it is they are doing. At all costs police forces want to stay outside and beyond transparency and specifically beyond anything even resembling democratic control.
Precisely because they know that when all is out in the open, public revulsion turns to demand for institutional change. The first instinct of any power center is to defend its own power merely to retain it.
In police forces, this becomes coded in cultures of omerta. Loyalty to the organisation comes first, and all who show disloyality shall be treated accordingly.
So if this is what happens to those whistle-blowers inside police forces, how much more difficult is it for those outside police forces, trying to both raise public consciousness and achieve personal and collective justice around police abuses?
Sarah Hampton (far left) with British undercover Mark Kennedy in Ireland 2005
And this brings us to the start of last week where a press conference was held around questions arising from British undercover officers working in Ireland. A report from that press conference is here. There is a tactic acceptance by previous and current governments that British officers did indeed work in Ireland.
Several TD’s including Clare Daly, Jonathan O’Brien and Paul Murphy as well as MEP Lynn Boylan have raised questions to the present government and at the European Parliament.
It was in response to questions by Paul Murphy on Wednesday March 8th that Enda Kenny stated the quote at the top of this piece.
However the press statement sent out by Mininster from Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlies Flanaghan following his meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, made no reference to raising the issue of British undercovers working in Ireland.
Earlier this week an email was sent to Enda Kenny, Charlie Flanagan and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald by one of the women deceived into a long term relationship with Mark Kennedy. As with all correspondence sent directly to members of the government, there has been no reply.
Kennedy was British officer with the secret National Public Order Intelligence unit. Sarah Hampton first met Kennedy whilst on holiday in Ireland. Kennedy at the time was using the persona Mark Stone, pretending to be an environmental activist. Sarah has already received a written apology from the Metropolitan police who ran the secret police unit. However, she, like hundreds of other caught up in British secret policing operating it seamlessly across national borders, she has many unanswered questions. Saying sorry is easy if all the other actions you come up against are deliberate obstacles, or as is the case in from the Irish government, simply ignoring your correspondence.
Here is that email to Kenny, Flanaghan and Fitzgerald in full.
Dear Taoiseach Enda Kenny,
Dear Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD
Dear Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald TD
My name is Sarah Hampton, you may have first heard my name when I was quoted on theParliament floor by TD Paul Murphy on 8 February 2017.
In 2005 I was on holiday on Ireland when I met Mark Kennedy. I subsequently went onto have a one year relationship with the man I then knew as ‘Mark Stone’ without any idea of his true identity. In 2010 I found out that he was a British undercover police officer working in Ireland as a member National Public Order Intelligence Unit.
Finding out that Mark was an undercover police officer brought about a deep depression that seemed impossible to navigate, there were times I have almost given up completely. The process of seeking justice on this case has felt at times belittling, intimidating and downright scary. I felt I had been raped, I never consented to sleeping with a police officer.
On the 3rd February 2017 I received a written full apology from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).3 Assistant Commissioner Fiona Taylor wrote me to acknowledged the pain and stress I have endured as the result of the deceitful relationship. The MPS Assistant Commissioner stated, “The relationship between you and Mark Kennedy was abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong.” ”The relationship should never have happened.” “I recognise that what happened in your case was an abuse of police power that resulted in a violation of your human rights, a breach of your privacy and trust, and the source of significant trauma to you.”
I note the Parliamentary Answer that TD Clare Daly received from the Tánaiste, 8th February2017, stating “should anything emerge from the findings of the UK’s Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) that would be relevant to policing in this jurisdiction I will consider it fully and take any action that may be required.”
However at this point the UCPI excludes Ireland completely, so this Parliamentary Answer is illogical and does not satisfy my concerns in the least. We don’t need to wait for the findings of the UK undercover policing inquiry to know that there are significant grounds for taking action on this matter. I am a US citizen, I was on holiday in Ireland when our relationship began, and despite the British MPS apology I have received, I have many unanswered questions regarding Ireland. I want to know if Irish authorities knew what Mark Kennedy wasdoing, and I want details about his operations in Ireland.
– Did you allow him to develop intimate relationships with women in your jurisdiction?
– Was he operating with the full permission of the Irish authorities?
– Do you have police files on me?
– To what extent has my right to privacy been invaded by the Irish authorities?
It is my belief that Police and government are supposed to be here to serve the people and they need to be held responsible when they themselves have even admitted to being negligent and violating human rights. I believe that by not taking action on this matter you are perpetuating the trauma I have experienced and that my human rights are continuing to be violated.
Further I find it shocking that via my solicitor Darragh Mackin of KRW Law I have informed the Minister of Justice about such issues via legal letters dated 17 May 2016 and again on 20 December 2016,4 yet to date I have received no reply although both letters were even reported in the media.
On 8 February the Taoiseach stated in Parliament that he would have his Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, raise the issue with British officials within the coming week. I firmly request that you take action to insist to British officials that the UCPI be extended to include the activities of undercover activities in the Republic of Ireland.
Core Participant in the UK Undercover Policing Inquiry
The demands are clear from Sarah and others seeking truth and answers. The first one is very simple.
The Irish government needs to officially ask that the UK government extend Pitchford to include the role of British undercover units working in Ireland. It quite simple. If you don’t ask you don’t get.
The government of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Germany have all asked for this extension. This government needs to own up and say why it refuses to do so so far. There is not question that British undercover units were working here. That is already established. Sarah Hampton other questions need answering to. And to those we should add the opening up of files of people living in Ireland – citizen and non citizen, adults and children, – arising from coming into contact with British undercover police operating here and providing information to An Garda Siochana.
Because this isn’t going away.