Thatcher Minister Tipped Off Ireland About Spooks – GCHQ Not So Clever After All!


As part of our Celtic League Military Monitoring in 1982 we started to probe the proliferation of suspicious communications links between Ireland and the UK and also drew attention to the mysterious communications tower constructed at Capenhurst in Cheshire which superseded an earlier temporary GCHQ facility which operated from the roof of a secure uranium enrichment facility there.

It seems the spooks tapped all Irish Sea traffic and not just seeking information abut terrorism but also snooping on commercial information.

A few years ago the Irish government expressed (what now turns out to be faux) outrage over this because it turns out that back in the mid 1980s just as we started our ‘snooping’ the Irish government received a tip-off from an unlikely source.

Irish State papers released over Xmas show that one of Mrs Thatcher’s inner circle Lord Gowrie tipped off the Irish government about the clandestine snooping. A report in the Irish Times a few weeks ago outlined the background to Gowrie’s curious intervention.

At around the same time Celtic League had a map published (together with an article) in the Magazine IN DUBLIN indicating that British military traffic from the North of Ireland was being routed via the Republic

Two years earlier we had queried a mystery planning application for a micro-wave link through the IOM – it turned out that this was a more secure route for UK communications and it operated until comparatively recently when the link was dismantled.

I reprised the story when it was revealed by Edward Snowden that the British were still at it tapping undersea cables between the UK and Ireland many years later (link):…/gchq-have-form-when-it-come…/

Anyway the Gowrie revelation is interesting because it shows that when GCHQ thought they were surreptitiously listening in on Irish communications the Irish government were in the know. You could say that Britain’s spooks were spiked!

Photograph: Capenhurst Tower Cheshire (now demolished).


Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

Mannin Branch Celtic League's photo.
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