09 April 2006

'Provos hired hitman to kill Donaldson'

Sunday Independent

**Don't normally post anything by Cusack, but thought you'd like to kick this around a bit

JIM CUSACK
9 April 2006

THE Provisional IRA hired a Continuity IRA gunman from County Cavan to murder Denis Donaldson, gardai believe.

The murder and its fallout are causing panic within Sinn Fein/IRA. An emergency meeting of the IRA leadership was held the night after the murder, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Now gardai believe the terrorist organisation may be splitting with hardliners openly against the Adams-McGuinness leadership.

Donaldson was murdered, gardai believe, by the hardliners as a warning to the mainstream IRA leadership, which many rank-and-file members believe to be riddled with informants.

Gardai believe the IRA leadership was thrown into a panic because the murder was ordered by elements within it intent on undermining them.

Many of the hardline members from the Tyrone, Fermanagh and County Derry areas, who fought for the IRA throughout the last 30 years and suffered the highest casualties, are bitter about how other IRA figures who did very little are now reaping the financial benefits of the IRA's massive crime organisation.

One local source said: "These are the people who fought the war. They don't have holiday homes." He said they also believe the mainstream leadership have "signed up to partition".

It is also understood the car carrying the gunman was caught on a CCTV camera crossing the Border into Fermanagh on his return journey to Cavan from Donaldson's cottage near Glenties.

Gardai also believe the assassination was carried out as a warning to others still inside the organisation including at least two Sinn Fein figures in the Border area.

Until now there has been no serious dissent within the IRA, but hardliners in the Border area are now said to have had enough of the Adams-McGuinness leadership, whom they believe have sold out on core republican values.

The gunman suspected of shooting Donaldson dead with three blasts from a shotgun, which partially tore his right hand from his arm, was very close to top IRA man Jim Lynagh.

Lynagh was one of the eight-man IRA unit shot dead by the British Army while planting a bomb at the police station in Loughgall, Armagh in May 1987. Security forces in the North were tipped off about the bombing in advance and set up the ambush which inflicted the biggest single loss of life on the IRA.

It is now believed the information came from a high-ranking informant in the IRA in Monaghan. Donaldson may have been murdered as a lesson to the mainstream leadership who are believed to be protecting other informants within the organisation. The Donaldson murder could have serious consequences for the IRA leadership's plans which, the Sunday Independent has learned, propose to turn the IRA into a quasi-police force in Catholic areas of the North and even in the Republic.

Sinn Fein has drawn up a blueprint, seen by this paper, for what is termed "community safety partnerships". The document says they will only be set up "in councils where we have sufficient numbers".

The CSPs would be an alternative to the legitimate District Policing Partnerships - the community liaison groups set up under the reform of policing in the North.

Sinn Fein's community safety partnerships are being set up to try to ensure that Catholics in the North do not co-operate with the legitimate police groups.

They are also likely to try to set up similar operations in the Republic, initially in County Donegal as a prelude to trying to spread this "alternative" policing. Sinn Fein does not recognise the Garda Siochana or the Defence Forces. Ironically, the document seen by this newspaper reveals that Sinn Fein is to ask the British Government to fund its alternative policing structure.

In a section entitled: "A republican position on community safety", it states: "It is vital that our public representatives get themselves fully acquainted with this issue and our position on it. This is an area where republicans have real credentials and we should not surrender this issue to others.

"A clear policy on tackling crime and community safety issues needs to be developed and articulated by our spokespersons, for example, community restorative justice, befriending services for the elderly, youth outreach, road safety awareness and traffic calming initiatives and community-based prevention/intervention programmes in drug, alcohol and solvent abuse.

"It is for the Cuige [SF's executive] to decide what political activity and publicity is necessary in order to promote a republican agenda on community safety on local councils. One starting point for this might be a councillors' conference or travelling workshop to brief elected representatives and encourage ideas for a republican approach to this issue."

Gardai believe that Sinn Fein is intent on extending its "community" policing ideas to the Republic and has already started making moves in north Donegal which is suffering a crime wave which has spread from Derry city.

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