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British spies had "excellent relations" with gardaí

And Irish ministers didn’t know it.

Image: Wanderley Massafelli

TOP BRASS IN Britain’s security forces had “excellent relations with their opposite numbers in Dublin in the 80s, newly released documents reveal.

The secret report by the British security co-ordinator has been released under the British 20-year rule.

According to the May 1985 report, successive Irish governments had encouraged collaboration with the British on matters of security, but were wary of the public backlash.

The report adds that even those Irish ministers who were aware of the push for collaboration were “unaware of its extent”.

It says that MI5 “benefit from a degree of co-operation and from a flow of intelligence which we believe to be at a greater level than is suspected by at least some Irish ministers”.

It adds that a “small number of garda officers” were prepared to be “extremely helpful” and this made a “major contribution” to combating the “terrorist campaign on the mainland”.

The report was requested by Margaret Thatcher as the Anglo-Irish talks were in full swing.

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