herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Riddle of Irish passports in US Russian spy ring

SHOCK: Innocent wife's papers may have been used

A PASSPORT belonging to an innocent Irish woman may have been used in the Russian spy scandal.

A shocked Maureen Doherty, from Carndonagh in Co Donegal, has been told by gardai that her papers could have been used illegally, after she travelled to Russia five years ago on a holiday.

Her husband, Eunan Doherty, has already been issued with a new Irish passport after his passport was allegedly used as part of a Russian spy plot discovered in the US last June.

The devastated couple were last night refusing to make any comment on the matter when contacted at their home in Ballyloskey.

"You will understand that I never made any comment and I am not commenting on my wife's passport details either," said Mr Doherty, a part-time fireman. But a source close to the woman revealed she had been contacted by gardai and told that details of her passport may have been used illegally.

"It's a nightmare for them. They're a lovely couple and the last thing they want is all this attention again. Maureen told a couple of people about it but she said she was trying to keep it quiet because she didn't want her family thrown back into the spotlight again," said the source.

In July, Mrs Doherty said they had been "hounded" when news broke that her husband's passport was used as part of a spy ring.

"This whole thing is a nightmare for us. The phone hasn't stopped ... we just want some privacy. We're being hounded," she said at the time.

Travelled

A senior garda spokesman in Co Donegal said he would not comment on "an ongoing operational matter".

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said: "We don't discuss individual cases or passport situations."

Innocent couple Maureen and Eunan Doherty travelled to Russia in 2005 on a family holiday and had to send their passports to the Russian embassy in Dublin to get the necessary visa.

In July, Mr Doherty, from Carndonagh in Donegal, was told by gardai that his passport had been copied by a man known as Richard Murphy, one of 11 suspects arrested in the US as part of a Russian spy ring inquiry.

Murphy and his wife Cynthia are suspected of being involved in a deep-cover operation to recruit political sources and gather information for the Russian Government.

He has since been extradited from the US.

In recent days gardai have also contacted Mrs Doherty to say her passport, or a copy of her passport, may also have been used by the same spy ring.

Details of the use of the Irish passports emerged during the disclosure of secret papers by the American Government into the Russian spy ring

hnews@herald.ie

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