A son of the late Provisional IRA icon Larry Marley – the Ardoyne republican who masterminded the 1983 mass escape from the Maze prison, Long Kesh – has posted a claim on the internet that ‘at least three IRA informers….and possibly more’, helped set up his father for assassination in 1987 at the behest of British intelligence agencies.
Larry Marley was shot dead at his home in Ardoyne in April that year by gunmen from the Ulster Volunteer Force. This was two years after he was released from jail and four years after the spectacular mass escape of IRA inmates from the Maze.
Thirty-eight prisoners broke out of the heavily guarded prison and although some were quickly recaptured, the breakout became the largest jail escape in British penal history.
Although Marley was a principal organiser of the breakout, he himself did not take part as he was due to be released not long after the breakout, in 1985. His central role in the escape was made into a widely praised 2017 movie called ‘Maze’, in which his role was played by the actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor.
Larry Marley was shot dead by the UVF as he went to answer a knock at the door of his Ardoyne home in April 1987. His funeral then became the stage for a three day standoff between the RUC and republican supporters who wanted to give Marley an IRA funeral.
The protests were notable for a famous photograph of the prominent SF leader and then IRA Northern Commander, Martin McGuinness and the then head of the IRA spycatchers unit, Freddie Scappaticci, within feet of each other, squaring up to RUC anti-riot officers. Both men have since been linked to suggestions that they were working for British intelligence (see photo below).
Now, Larry Marley’s son, Sean O Mearthaile has taken to the internet, in the form of a forum for former IRA prisoners who were on the pre-hunger strike blanket protest, to make a detailed allegation that his father was killed by the combined forces of the UVF, British intelligence and ‘at least three PIRA informants and possibly more’. The post was timed to coincide with the 33rd anniversary of his father’s killing.
These informants, Sean O Mearthaile wrote ‘…had been working for (RUC) Special Branch and British military intelligence and….passed on information to there (sic) handlers to have our father murdered.’
He concludes: ‘…these same individuals are alive and protected by there (sic) handlers.’
At least one name of a prominent republican in North Belfast is circulating as a result of the post. One source has told thebrokenelbow.com that members of the Marley family and this individual have already been involved in a verbal confrontation.
The presence of Freddie Scappaticci at the Marley funeral makes it possible that the killing of the IRA leader was investigated by the team of British detectives headed by former Bedfordshire Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, who has been probing the possible role played by the former head of IRA security and his handlers in a number of killings.
Sean O Mearthaile gave no clue in his internet post about who his source was for the dramatic allegation he made.
Here is Sean O Mearthaile’s posting (followed by the McGuinness-Scappaticci pic):