19 March 2006

Donaldson: I'm not in hiding


19/03/2006 - 13:41:53

A top Sinn Féin official kicked out of the party after he admitted being a British spy is living the life of a recluse in the hills of Donegal, it emerged today.

Denis Donaldson, 56, is staying in a run down cottage without running water or electricity and has to chop wood to make a fire.

It is understood the pre-famine property is five miles from the village of Glenties and there are no occupied homes nearby.

Donaldson was one of three men arrested in October 2002 following allegations of a republican spy-ring at Stormont.

But in December, shortly after the case against him collapsed, he was unmasked as a British agent.

The former aide to Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams sensationally admitted he had been a spy for more than 20 years.

He immediately fled his west Belfast home and has not been seen since giving a television interview in which he admitted his amazing double life.

The ex-prisoner was famously photographed with his arm around Bobby Sands in an iconic image that went round the world during the 1981 IRA hunger strike.

Donaldson is pictured today in the Sunday World newspaper outside the secluded cottage looking gaunt and with a scruffy beard.

He claimed he was sacrificed in a Secret Service plot to preserve the political career of the Ulster Unionist leader.

Donaldson told the paper: “The plan was to collapse the institutions to save Trimble – David Trimble was trying to out-DUP the DUP and in the end the DUP swallowed him up.

“The whole idea was to get Trimble off the hook and get republicans the blame.

“But it didn’t work because Trimble is history now.”

He added: “There was never a spy ring at Stormont.”

Donaldson also said he had no idea how documents relating to the private details of British Army Chief of Staff, hundreds of prison officers and other individuals came to be found in a holdall in his west Belfast home.

The ex-political aide told the newspaper he was not in contact with any of his former party colleagues.

But Donaldson denied being in hiding and said he simply wanted to be left alone.

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