The man who claims to have supplied Gardai with the bug that Charles Haughey eventually used to eavesdrop on adversaries had a long career in the shadows. George Clarke of RUC Special Branch had been running informers in the Republic from the very early 1970s. Between September and December 1971, those violent volatile months following the introduction of internment, he made 47 visits south of the border. It was to fish but not at rivers. At one point during his long agent running career he attended the Provisionals’ annual Bodenstown rally which honours the United Irishmen leader Wolfe Tone. Viewing the crowd he might well have thought ‘this kingdom shall be mine.’
Of all those he baited and hooked his best catch would appear to have been fortuitous, a 1973 walk-in who gave RUC Special Branch vital information about the London Bombings. If Clarke’s account is correct this information, while not able to prevent the bombing of the British capital, led to the arrest of those involved, most notably the Price sisters, Dolours and Marian.