The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that he has raised the allegations about the alleged IRA informer 'Stakeknife' through the British-Irish Secretariat, but he was not sure the British political system has any particular information about the matter, as it seemed to be a British Army operation.

He told Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny that many of the allegations of collusion with paramilitaries seemed to centre around the Force Research Unit, but that in his conversations with British Prime Minister Tony Blair he had not been able to get any information about the FRU.

Deputy Kenny urged the Taoiseach to contact Mr Blair by telephone tonight or tomorrow to raise the allegations, and asked if the Government would seek to extradite the person concerned.

A solicitor representing the man earlier categorically denied he worked for military intelligence.

In a statement issued in Belfast, solicitor Michael Flanigan said Freddie Scappaticci had never been an informer, nor had any contact with the British intelligence services.

He said Mr Scappaticci had not been taken into protective custody and had never received money from the security services.

It has been claimed that Mr Scappaticci is no longer in Northern Ireland.

Mr Flanigan challenged this assertion, but said his client's life had clearly been placed in danger and he was now in hiding.

He also said that no attempt had been made by the police to speak to him about any of the matters referred to in media reports.

Mr Flanigan added that Freddie Scappaticci had not been contacted by the Stevens inquiry, which is investigating collusion between members of the security forces and paramilitary groups. He said his client was the victim of misinformation, apparently emanating from the security forces and disseminated by the press.

The solicitor insisted that Mr Scappaticci was an ordinary working man living in West Belfast and as such had no means at his disposal to combat what he said was this onslaught of false allegations.

He said Mr Scappaticci had been compelled to issue the statement as a result of the intense media speculation about him and in the interest of protecting his privacy no further statement would be issued at this time.