AS MI5 ARE ACCUSED OF ABANDONING UNDERCOVER WHAT IT IS REALLY LIKE TO INFILTRATE THE IRA... The gunman in the chest, stomach, hand and leg...i believed I was going
WHAT could possibly be worse than throwing your body 45 feet from a thirdstorey window?
For Martin McGartland, a secret agent working for MI5, the thought of breaking every bone in his body seemed like nothing compared to being tortured by the Provincial IRA, or Provos.
Between 1987 and 1991, Marty infiltrated the IRA, secretly feeding information back to Royal Ulster Constabulary’s Special Branch and enabling them to intercept violent terrorist attacks.
Having worked with some of the group’s head honchos, like Davy Adams and Brian Gillen, when his cover was blown and he was abducted by Padraig Wilson and Paul ‘Chico’ Hamilton, he knew that leaping from the window of the Belfast flat was his only hope of survival.
After escaping, Marty was given a new identity and started a new life in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside. But in 1999, the IRA tracked him down and he was shot SIX times outside his home.
A combination of luck and determination saw him survive the attack but now, in his early 40s, he’s still constantly looking over his shoulder in fear of yet another attempt on his life.
Last week, MI5 secret agent Raymond Gilmour, who also infiltrated the IRA in the 1980s, revealed he’s taking the British security services to tribunal for abandoning him.
As our intelligence service prepares to defend itself against the former mole, Midweek Sport looks at another heroic infiltrator with reason to feel aggrieved.
In Marty’s book, Fifty Dead Men Walking – also a major film starring Jim Sturgess and Ben Kingsley – he describes in graphic detail being shot at close proximity by an IRA assassin.
Ithat moment I had felt nothing. Now the pain wracked my body, my chest, my side, my stomach, my arm, my hand. Sh*t it hurt.
I gritted my teeth to try to quell the pain, but I couldn’t. I kept talking to myself, telling myself that I could handle the pain as long as I lived. I tried telling myself that the pain wasn’t that bad, but it was getting to me. I just wanted to curl up and sleep. also realised that if I didn’t get to hospital quickly I would be a goner.
I tried to shout for help but the words wouldn’t come. I couldn’t find the strength and only moans came from my throat.
Then I heard voices and looked up through the mist in my eyes and saw my neighbours, the Connon family.
Jesus it was good to see them. I could have cried when I realised they had come to the rescue, had come to help me.
I knew the whole family – they were good, honest people and we had become friends. Somewhere in my mind I recalled that their elder son Adam, aged around 18, had studied first aid and that his mother, Andrea, was something to do with a hospital.
I heard them asking me questions and I can’t recall if I replied or not. My memory was going, so was my brain. I think I murmured, “F***ing Provos.”
“Keep quiet, stay still,” Adam said. “An ambulance is on the way. Just lie still and you’ll be OK.”
Adam took off my T-shirt and someone ran off and returned with cling film which he wrapped around my chest and my side in an attempt to stem the bleeding. I remember him stuffing socks in my wounds trying to stop the flow of blood that was everywhere.
I recall his mother cradling my head in her arms, talking to me, soothing me, keeping me conscious as we waited for the ambulance. I owe my life to that family, and particularly Adam. If it hadn’t been for his quick thinking I would be dead.
The next thing I remember was waking in hospital some 48 hours later, drifting in and out of consciousness. My mother Kate, sister Lizzie and brother Joseph were there standing around the bed, and I wondered what they were doing there, standing at the end of my bed looking at me.
I asked if I was going to live. They gave me the answer I