Padraig Wilson

General Information


Leader - IRA

Worker - Sinn Fein


Member - Irish Republican Army

High-Ranking Member

Recent News  

Dropping Well Massacre in Ballykelly

Padraig Wilson (44) was the leader of IRA prisoners in the Maze prison until he was freed early in 1999 under the Good Friday Agreement.He had served only a third of a 24-year sentence for possession of a car bomb, and his secret trip broke the terms of his release licence.Colombian intelligence documents say that Wilson entered Bogota, the capital, on Air France flight 422 on April 5 last year and flew on by Satena Airlines to San Vicente del Caguan in Farc territory.There he was met by guerrilla leaders.He returned to Paris on April 16 by the same route.A copy of an Irish passport bearing the name James Edward Walker and a photograph of Wilson has been passed to the Daily Telegraph by Colombian intelligence.Wilson was accompanied on the flights by Niall Connolly, Sinn Fein's representative in Cuba.The presence of such a high-ranking IRA man as Wilson in Colombia is powerful evidence that training activities were authorised by the terrorist group's top leadership.A surveillance photograph of Wilson taken at San Vicente del Caguan airport was shown by the Colombian authorities at a House international relations committee hearing in Washington last month.Wilson, a former Sinn Fein worker, is a strong supporter and friend of Gerry Adams.Emphasising that Wilson's trip was sanctioned by the IRA leadership, a senior British diplomatic source said: "You don't get much more senior than Wilson.More recently, the State Department is thought to be seriously concerned about photographic evidence that Padraig Wilson, a high-ranking member of the IRA and a confidant of Gerry Adams, was part of the IRA team in Colombia.Wilson is believed to have visited Colombia in April 2001 in the company of a well-known Irish journalist whose newspaper has been critical or dismissive of allegations that the three Irishmen were in Colombia were on an IRA mission to help FARC.He and his newspaper regularly suggested that such reports were part of an effort by members of various intelligence organizations to undermine Sinn Fein.Accusations that Wilson was involved could damage Adams's standing in the U.S. Adams has vociferously denied that the republican movement had any knowledge of the visits.The Irish journalist who allegedly accompanied Wilson was questioned in connection with the attempted assassination of a British businessman in Dublin about 15 years ago.His newspaper recently alleged that HIRC chairman Hyde had accepted campaign donations from defense contractors, hinting that his advocacy of giving U.S. aid to the Colombian government in its war against terrorist was linked to his relationship to the contractors.Wilson was leader of the IRA prisoners in the Maze before being released in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.The prison service in Northern Ireland will look into claims that Wilson broke the conditions of his licence when he went to South America.But sources played down the likelihood of any action being taken against him.Released prisoners are banned from taking part in terrorist activity relating to Northern Ireland only.In the Commons Tony Blair sidestepped the question when asked what action he would be taking against the IRA."It is a serious issue.That is why we are making it quite clear to Sinn Fein and any paramilitary organisations that such behaviour is unacceptable," he said.But he would not commit himself to any action.The State Department has studied evidence published by The Telegraph this week that Padraig Wilson, 44, an IRA leader with very close links to Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, travelled to meet the Farc in April 2001.A copy of a passport in the name of James Edward Walker and bearing Mr Wilson's photograph is in the possession of The Telegraph.

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McDowell claimed that Connolly travelled to Colombia with his brother Niall and Padraig Wilson, a convicted IRA member, in April 2001 on a false passport.

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Corks 96fm

The Brighton bomber Patrick Magee; Padraig Wilson, the former IRA leader inside the Maze; Brian Keenan, who sits on the Provos` ruling army council; and top Belfast republicans Eddie Copeland and Bobby Storey all followed the coffin.

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