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Peter Taylor: Operation Chiffon; The Secret Story of MI5 and MI6 and the Road to Peace in Ireland

March 29 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Image shows a photo of Peter Taylor and the book cover for Operation Chiffon; The Secret Story of MI5 and MI6 and the Road to Peace in Ireland.

Peter Taylor in conversation with Susan McKay

Wednesday 29 March, Dublin Unitarian Church, St Stephen’s Green.

Doors 18.15. Event starts 18.30. Book tickets here.

On the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Peter Taylor tells for the first time the gripping story of Operation Chiffon, MI5’s top secret intelligence operation that helped bring peace to Ireland.

April 1998: the Good Friday Agreement is signed, ending decades of violence and bloodshed in Northern Ireland. The process of getting the IRA to end its so-called  armed struggle’ was always the prerequisite of the search for peace. It was Operation Chiffon that finally helped make it possible.

Operation Chiffon takes us inside the top-secret intelligence operation whose roots go back to the bloodiest years of the conflict in the early 1970s, involving officers from MI6 and, later in the 1990s, MI5.

The remarkable story, which has remained hidden for forty years, is now revealed by legendary BBC journalist Peter Taylor with unique access to the officers involved. Drawing on exclusive interviews and Taylor’s fifty years of covering the conflict, the book narrates in first-hand detail how those involved risked their careers – and their lives – to help secure the fragile peace that exists today.

Taylor vividly brings this covert operation to life and in the process chronicles the history of Sinn Féin, rising from obscurity in the early days of the Troubles to becoming the largest political party in Ireland today. It is a story fraught with uncertainty and danger that, as Brexit risks destabilising what was achieved in the Good Friday Agreement twenty-five years ago, is more important than ever to remember.

Copies of the book will be on sale at the event and Peter Taylor will be signing books afterwards.

Book tickets here.

Peter Taylor is acknowledged to be one of the BBC’s most distinguished and respected journalists, best known for his coverage of the Irish conflict and political violence over the past 50 years. He has won many awards for his work including Journalist of the Year, the James Cameron Award and Lifetime Achievement Awards from both BAFTA and the Royal Television Society. He was also presented with an OBE and an Honorary Doctorate in Peace and Security Studies from Bradford University.

Susan McKay is an Irish writer, journalist and documentary filmmaker whose books include Northern Protestants – On Shifting Ground. She has made award winning documentaries for radio and television, including “The Daughter’s Story” about the daughters of the murdered musician Fran O’Toole of the Miami Showband, and “Inez, A Challenging Woman” about Inez McCormack.

Dublin Festival of History is an annual free festival, brought to you by Dublin City Council, and organised by Dublin City Libraries, in partnership with the Dublin City Council Culture Company.

Now in its eleventh year, the festival has built a reputation for shining a fresh perspective on history and its importance in our everyday lives, attracting best-selling Irish and international historians to Dublin for a high-profile programme of history talks and debate each Autumn.

The 2023 festival will run from Monday 25 September to Sunday 15 October, with our Big Weekend at Printworks from 29 September to October 1. Programme details will be announced in August.


Dublin Unitarian Church
112 St Stephen's Green
Dublin, D02 YP23 Ireland
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Event Type
In person
75 mins
Booking Details
Book online
Wheelchair access