AN ex-British army spy -- who is being denied the chance to give evidence at the Swithwick Tribunal in Dublin into alleged IRA-garda collusion -- was due to address the phone hacking inquiry in Britain today.
Ian Hurst will tell the Leveson Inquiry how Rupert Murdoch's News of the World hacked into his phone.
The ex-military intelligence agent will allege that News International journalists used a former army colleague to find out what he knew about Martin McGuinness's role in the IRA as well as details about Freddie 'Stakeknife' Scappaticci, the double agent who passed information about the Provos to the British authorities.
Mr Hurst wants to give evidence in person to the Smithwick Tribunal into how the IRA killed top RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan in 1989. The inquiry is investigating allegations that a garda "mole" provided the IRA with information to target the two police officers for assassination.
But Mr Hurst, who was a whistleblower in the Pat Finucane murder scandal, has been told he can only deliver his evidence in private and not in front of the media or public. The former British army agent in the undercover Force Research Unit (FRU) has told the Herald he believes the inquiry's refusal to allow his testimony to be heard in public is designed to protect senior figures in the Northern peace process. Mr Hurst claims to have evidence of Stakeknife's role in the Breen/Buchanan killing and how the murder plot was known to high-ranking members of the IRA and Sinn Fein.
At the Leveson inquiry Mr Hurst will talk about how a former comrade in the FRU, which ran agents within the IRA and the loyalist terror groups during the Troubles, used his technical expertise to hack his mobile phone for the News of the World. He will allege the hacking was run from the Murdoch-owned News International operation in Dublin.
The Smithwick Tribunal moves to the Special Criminal Court today to hear evidence of Real IRA founder Michael McKevitt. Unlike Hurst, the convicted Real IRA terrorist's evidence will not be subject to any restrictions.