Political pressure is growing in Britain to establish the extent of undercover police operations within British and Irish protest movements, following the recent exposure of a British undercover agent who had spent time as a member of several campaigns in Ireland, including in the Corrib Gas protest.
Police Constable Mark Kennedy, a Metropolitan Police officer, infiltrated several environmental and anti-capitalist political campaigns in Britain and other European countries using the fake identity of Mark Stone.
Reports say he lived with his wife and their two children in the village of Kilbrin in County Cork since 2000, where the local priest Father Michael Campbell said he had met Kennedy/Stone once in Kilbrin, but knew the family well.
According to Irish political activists, Kennedy's political activities were widespread. He spent several days in north Mayo in 2006 participating in a workshop for the Shell to Sea campaign and he visited the home of Willie Corduff, one of the so-called Rossport Five who were jailed in 2005 for refusing to obey a court injunction.
Kennedy also took part in the Dublin May Day protests in 2004 and in the demonstrations against the visit of then US president George W Bush to County Clare the following month. Several activists who met Kennedy in Ireland have said he encouraged more confrontational tactics in their protesting.
In interviews published in the British press this week Kennedy said he was involved in five major protests and passed on invaluable information to the British police about the movements of demonstrators.
Kennedy added that his reports were passed straight to then prime minister Tony Blair and that he was given a commendation for his role.