Duffy in soldier killing quiz after move North
SECURITY: He's taken from Portlaoise for murder probe
By Cormac Byrne
Thursday April 01 2010
FORMER INLA chief Declan Duffy will be quizzed over a soldier's murder -- after being transferred under heavy security from Portlaoise Prison to the North.
The ex-terror boss, who ran the Dublin wing of the INLA until last year, will be questioned in the coming days over the killing of Sgt Michael Newman, murdered by an INLA hit squad in Derby in 1992.
Duffy (35) was moved from maximum security Portlaoise Prison, where is serving a sentence for INLA membership, to Maghaberry Prison, last week. Tight security was put in place on the convoy.
The ex-INLA man became a notorious figure in Dublin's gangland over his involvement in the Ballymount Bloodbath and his feud with the Freddie Thompson crime gang in the south inner city.
His life had been threatened on a number of occasions by Thompson gang members before he was arrested in 2008 and charged with membership.
The Herald understands that Duffy consented to his move to the North and has agreed to be interviewed by British police.
A European arrest warrant had been issued by the English police seeking to extradite Duffy along with Anthony Patrick Gorman (39), also from Co Armagh.
Duffy, who is also known by his nickname 'Whacker', will be questioned on suspicion of being one of gang of men who carried out the assassination of the 33-year-old recruiting sergeant Newman at army offices in Derby 17 years ago. Gorman was arrested last year and is challenging his extradition.
A third man, Joseph McGee, has already been convicted for his part in the murder of Sergeant Newman and sentenced to 25 years but only served two years before he was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. McGee was arrested in 2004 when he crossed the border to attend a funeral in Co Armagh and later pleaded guilty to the murder.
If Duffy were to be charged and convicted it is likely he could also claim early release under the Good Friday Agreement. His Irish sentence for membership is due to end in July 2011. A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Prison Service confirmed Duffy's transfer.
"Mr Duffy was transferred to the North last week and is currently residing at Maghaberry Prison in co Antrim," he said.
"He met the criteria for a transfer from one state to another under the Council of Europe Convention on the transfer of sentenced persons as he is originally from Northern Ireland."
The former terrorist leader became a figure of derision within INLA divisions after he publicly disassociated himself with the organisation last May.
He confirmed in a court in Dublin that he was no longer involved with the Irish National Liberation Army.