09 April 2006

Donaldson 'killed to avenge SAS killing'


09/04/2006 - 16:10:33

Former associates of a feared IRA assassin killed by the SAS may have murdered Denis Donaldson, it emerged today.

Detectives believe Sinn-Féin-man-turned informer Donaldson was gunned down to avenge the shooting of Jim Lynagh.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLynagh, 32, was among eight IRA men ambushed as they tried to blow up a police station at Loughgall in Armagh in May 1987.

**Photo from Relatives For Justice

This is the main line of inquiry being pursued by the Gardaí, security services confirmed today.

After it was revealed that Donaldson, 56, one of Sinn Féin’s top officials, turned informer more than 20 years ago, the republican movement knew his betrayal had inflicted major damage, and that may have included briefing his handlers on the IRA plot at Loughgall.

The SAS were lying in wait for the heavily-armed unit when they arrived at the station with a 200lb bomb.

All the IRA members were killed instantly, including Lynagh, from Monaghan, who had been wanted by police for six years at the time.

He was heavily involved in many of the IRA’s operations across Tyrone during the 1980s.

Lynagh was also suspected of involvement in the murder of former unionist MP and speaker at the old Stormont parliament Norman Stronge, and his son James at their Armagh home in 1981.

“We are 80% certain that (Donaldson's) murder was planned and carried out by those who were close to Lynagh,” a security source disclosed.

“There’s also a 10% chance it was individual disgruntled Provisionals; and a 10% chance that dissident republicans carried it out."

Donaldson, a one-time prison confidant of IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands and head of Sinn Féin’s office at Stormont, was buried on Saturday after a low-key funeral in Belfast attended by less than 100 people.

Donaldson was shot through the front door of his son-in-law’s dilapidated cottage, five miles outside the tiny town of Glenties in Donegal last Tuesday. He had tried to barricade himself in in his last moments, but after his right hand was nearly severed by the first blast, the killer opened fire again, shooting him in the cheek and body.

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