Oliver Wright

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Wright was the UK representative on the Joint Security Committee in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s and was referred to in the Bloody Sunday Inquiry:

a number of individuals, directly involved in both the Northern Ireland Administration in 1972 and in the Security Service:
Howard Smith, the UK Representative at Stormont in 1972, was reportedly later appointed to be head of MI5 or MI6.
Oliver Wright, Howard Smith’s predecessor, was allegedly later appointed to be head of MI6.
Clifford Hill was seconded from the Information Research Department, described by Lord Carver as a department ‘set up to produce counter-propaganda to influence the media in the army’s favour’.
Another person, whose name was unknown to Counsel, was seconded by MI6 to Howard Smith’s office (Counsel suggested this might be Hugh Mooney).
He also said that there were a number of military personnel and members of the Special Military Unit in the Director of Intelligence Office, and added that some of them appeared to have been members of MI5.
He continued his submission, saying that there was a division within the Army Headquarters Northern Ireland known as the Information Policy Unit, or ‘PsyOps’, which Colin Wallace, Senior Information Officer at Army Headquarters, said was “euphemistically described as ‘deception operations’ and ‘black propaganda’”. Colonel Maurice Tugwell, a former Para and an Intelligence Officer, was in charge of this unit. [1]

Wright denied that he was a member of MI6 in his evidence to the inquiry.[2]

In a very early Lobster article, Stephen Dorril stated: "1971 saw Oliver Wright replaced by Howard Smith (later head of MI5) as intelligence co-ordinator." [3]

According to Jonathan Powell, "When the Troubles had started, Northern Ireland was foreign territory for Whitehall, which had previously paid no attention to the subject, and they had sent British diplomat Oliver Wright over to Belfast to keep an eye on the Stormont Government.[4]


External Resources


  1. British Irish Rights Watch, BLOODY SUNDAY INQUIRY, Week 60, 27 - 31 MAY 2002, SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE
  2. Bloody Sunday Inquiry - Statement of Oliver Wright, accessed 10 April 2008.
  3. Kincoragate, by Steve Dorril, Lobster, issue 1, September 1983.
  4. Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland, by Jonathan Powell, The Bodley Head 2008, p66.