Brits suspected IRA man of 50 killings

Dec. 29, 2012 at 4:00 PM

DUBLIN, Ireland, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- A former Irish Republican Army fighter who currently sits in the Irish parliament was suspected of 50 killings during the Troubles, newly released papers show.

Desmond "Dessie" Ellis, 60, refused to comment on his part in the IRA except to say he was a member at the "very highest levels," the Belfast Telegraph reported.

"I don't want to comment on anything said by the Brits. I wouldn't be bothered," he said.

Ellis was arrested in Dublin in 1981, jumped bail and then was arrested in Buffalo, N.Y., the next year, charged with illegal entry into the United States. The British government sought his extradition.

"As you know, one of those arrested has turned out on investigation to be Desmond Ellis who was arrested in Dublin in May 1981 for possession of electronic remote-controlled devices," a British document said. "We understand that Ellis is linked by forensic evidence to some 50 murders in Northern Ireland and the Republic."

Ellis was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Ireland in 1983. He was extradited to Britain in 1990 and acquitted in London on an explosives charge.

A native of Dublin, Ellis was recently elected to the Irish parliament, or Dail, representing Dublin-West. He is a member of the republican Sinn Fein party.

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