Yesterday, activists targeted by UK undercover police, held a press conference in Ireland, to highlight the activities of these undercover officers in Ireland. Among these people was Kate Wilson, who was targeted by Mark Kennedy for an intimate relationship and is one of the women involved in the eight women case we supported, traveled with Mark Kennedy to protest events in Ireland.
A statement was also read out written by an American woman, Sarah Hampton, who has just received an apology from the Metropolitan police for her relationship with Mark Kennedy. She spoke about the effect of the abusive relationship on her, saying “Finding out that Mark was an undercover police officer brought about a deep depression that seemed impossible to navigate, there were times I almost gave up completely. The process of seeking justice on this case has felt at times belittling, intimidating and downright scary.” She went on to ask “Who gave permission for a British undercover officer to form and have a relationship with a US national in Ireland, in the UK, in Scotland and in Spain?”
Kate Wilson explained some of the issues around undercover police in Ireland: “I found out in 2010 that my partner was an undercover officer and since then information has just kept coming out about the practices of undercover policing in the UK. We now know that since 1968 they have been running top secret political policing units, starting with the Metropolitan police in London but also other forces around the country. Activists have been finding information about those officers. The state hasn’t actually yet given us any information that has not be already found out by researchers and whistle-blowers getting that information to the public.
We already know that a large number of undercover officers were involved in the kind of long term intimate relationship that I had. Some of them even fathered children. We know that they were spying on the families of the victims of police violence. People who had been killed by the police or whose murders had not be properly investigated.
And we know that they were working with the Crown Prosecution Service and were responsible for a number of miscarriages of justice. Mark Kennedy alone, who was the man that I was involved with, is responsible for over 56 unsafe convictions. These were convictions that were overturned because of the role of undercover police in those cases. People were wrongfully convicted.
We are all here because our privacy and political rights were violated by these British police officers here in Ireland. We think its really important that people know these things happened in Ireland and affected Irish citizens as well.
There is currently no information and no investigation in Ireland. So we are here to talk about some of the things that happen here in Ireland. Yesterday the Metropolitan police issued a public apology to Sarah Hampton who is a woman who was deceived into a relationship with Mark Kennedy that started here in Ireland.”
Kim Bryan, spoke about how Mark Kennedy paid for and facilitated her educational group, Trapese, to visit Ireland before the G8 in 2005, encouraging the 200 people who attended the G8 protests in Scotland to do so. She said “I think it raises a very serious question because Mark Kennedy was essentially coercing, manipulating and manufacturing situations which meant Irish citizens then took part in things that were being manufactured by a British spy who was operating on Irish soil.”
Jason Kilpatrick, an activist who was also targeted by Kennedy in Ireland, said “We have been informing the minister for months now that this British officer created serious human rights violations that the police admit. Kennedy was here five or six times in the Republic of Ireland. Were there wrongful or miscarriages of justice here in Ireland? That has to be investigated. That has to be made public. And so far Minister Fitzgerald has not even shown that she understands these issues.”