SF disputes on-air resignation of claimed party member after Kelly backs informers

Gerry Kelly told the Nolan Show that he was not against the use of informers
Gerry Kelly told the Nolan Show that he was not against the use of informers
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The brother of an IRA man shot dead by the SAS 31 years ago claimed he was resigning from Sinn Fein live on radio on Tuesday after hearing Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly say he was not against the use of informers.

The North Belfast MLA and Policing Board member spoke on BBC Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan show about the use of child informers after it was revealed that police paid out £2million to ‘covert human intelligence sources’ in the last five years.

Mr Kelly said: “I am not against the use of informants and I’ve never said that.”

He said that “of course police services operate on the basis that they gain information”, adding that as he has called for “people to bring forward information so it would be a complete contradiction for me to say I am against people giving information”.

Mr Kelly said “giving information is giving information whether you are a covert human intelligent source or otherwise”.

He said he did not agree with the use of “vulnerable people and in that category I put children”.

“Besides which it can put their life in danger so I think it is pretty obvious that it is absolutely the wrong way to go about it,” he added.

After hearing Mr Kelly speak about the use of informers, Frank McGirr from Coalisland, Co Tyrone, whose 23-year-old brother Colm was shot dead in December 1983, said he was “so annoyed with Gerry Kelly”.

Claiming to be a member of Sinn Fein, Mr McGirr said: “I am a member of Sinn Fein no longer from today. I don’t support informers. Informers are low lives. Thirty-one years ago my youngest brother Colm was murdered by the SAS on December 4 at Clonoe and that was due to police informers.”

He said his brother was a member of the PIRA but was unarmed at the time he was killed.

On Tuesday night, a spokesman for Sinn Fein denied Mr McGirr had been a party member when he publicly ‘resigned’ on air.