The Informer

The Informer


In 1988 IRA terrorist Sean O'Callaghan walked into a Tunbridge Wells police station and gave himself up. Two years later, in a Belfast courtroom, he pleaded guilty to all charges of which he was accused and received a sentence of 539 years. Since being a teenager he had been an active member of the IRA and had risen to be the head of their Southern Command. He was responsible for two murders and many terrorist attacks. He was a linchpin of the organization.

But in 1996, he was released from prison by royal prerogative. For fourteen years he had been the most highly placed informer within the IRA and had fed the Irish Garda with countless pieces of invaluable information. He prevented the assassination of the Prince and Princess of Wales at a London theatre, he sabotaged operations, explained strategy and caused the arrests of many IRA members. He has done more than any individual to unlock the code of silence that governs the IRA's members, and has in effect made it possible to fight the war against the terrorists. Under constant threat of IRA revenge, he now works ceaselessly for peace in Ireland. As he says, 'I hope to use the time available to me now to tell the truth about the IRA. I will go on doing that for as long as it takes.

The Informer is Sean O'Callaghan's story. It is the story of a courageous life lived under the constant threat of discovery and its fatal consequences. It is the story of a very modern hero, who is not without sin but who has done and is continuing to do everything in his power, and at whatever personal cost, to atone for the past.


  • 'A book of major significance...told with the suspense of a thriller'
    Mark Kenny, Daily Express

About the author

Sean O'Callaghan

Sean O'Callaghan joined the Provisonal IRA in 1970, aged fiteen, and he was active in Northern Ireland in the mid-seventies, taking part in numerous terrorist attacks which resulted in the deaths of two members of the security forces. He resigned from the IRA in 1975, just short of his 21st birthday, having become disillusioned with everything it stoof for. He rejoined it in 1979, this time volunteering his services to the Irish police as in informer. He continued this work until 1985 when he had to leave Ireland as suspicion about him mounted.

In 1988 he handed himself up to British police and admitted involvement in IRA activities in Northern Ireland in the mid-seventies. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and released under Royal Prerogative in 1996.

After his release he wrote his autobiography The Informer, and has continued to work for peace in Ireland. Today he works with young people at risk of getting involved in criminal or extremist activity.
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