06 April 2006

British intelligence murder-link claims 'desperate'


06/04/2006 - 09:01:16

Suggestions that British intelligence was behind the murder of Sinn Féin official-turned-spy Denis Donaldson are pretty desperate, a British government minister said today.

As he prepared for the launch of the Irish and British governments’ road map for reviving devolved government at Stormont today, Northern Secretary Peter Hain said he believed it was more likely the 56-year-old was gunned down by dissident republicans.

“I have obviously consulted with the security services and police,” Mr Hain confirmed.

“Nobody at the minute has any idea as to how the murder took place or who was responsible.

“The investigation by Irish police is continuing and we are supporting it.”

Unionists have been highly sceptical of Provisional IRA denials that it was behind the murder of the former comrade in an isolated cottage near Glenties, Co Donegal, on Tuesday.

However, among the other theories put forward have been that Mr Donaldson was murdered by disgruntled members of the Provisional IRA angered by revelations last December that he had been a British spy.

Hardline dissident republicans opposed to the peace process and Sinn Féin have also suggested that British intelligence could have been involved.

Mr Hain said claims that the British security services were behind the murder were fanciful and rather desperate.

He told BBC Radio Ulster: “It is much more likely to have been a dissident republican of some description than anything else.”

Gardaí were today continuing their hunt for Mr Donaldson’s killers.

Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn vowed yesterday that no stone would be left unturned in the search for those responsible.

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