04 April 2006

Sinn Fein British agent shot dead

BBC


Denis Donaldson was expelled from Sinn Fein in December

Former senior Sinn Fein member Denis Donaldson has been found shot dead in the Irish Republic.

Mr Donaldson is believed to have been living in County Donegal since December when he admitted he had been a paid British agent for 20 years.

He was Sinn Fein's administration chief at Stormont before his 2002 arrest over alleged spying led to its collapse. Charges were dropped last year.

His body was found near the village of Glenties at about 1700 BST.

Mr Donaldson was expelled from Sinn Fein last December.

At the time, he told a news conference that he was recruited in the 1980s as a paid agent and deeply regretted his activities.

"We are living in a different era, and in the future in which everyone could share. This killing seems to have been carried out by those who have not accepted that."
Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein president


He said there had not been a republican spy ring at Stormont.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told the same news conference that Mr Donaldson was not under any threat from the republican movement.

One week earlier, charges of spying at Stormont against three men including Mr Donaldson were dropped "in the public interest".

Mr Donaldson moved out of his Belfast home, and had been living in a near derelict cottage without electricity or running water.

Mr Adams said on Tuesday he had spoken to the Donaldson family just before news of his death broke.

He said said he was not prepared to speculate on who might have been responsible.

"It has to be condemned. We are living in a different era, and in the future in which everyone could share. This killing seems to have been carried out by those who have not accepted that," he said.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said on Tuesday that he was "completely appalled by this barbaric act".

Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern described the death as a "brutal murder".

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