04 April 2006

Sinn Fein spy shot dead

Guardian

Charlotte Moore and agencies
Tuesday April 4, 2006

Denis Donaldson, the former Sinn Fein head of Stormont who admitted working for British intelligence, has been found shot dead in County Donegal, police said today.

His body was discovered near the village of Glenties not far from a rundown cottage, which had become his home since he was banished from the party at the end of last year after he admitted working as a spy for more than 25 years.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usDenis Donaldson, the ex-Sinn Fein head of Stormont. (Photograph: Paul Faith/PA)

Irish justice minister Michael McDowell said Garda teams moved quickly to seal off the border after the body was found. He also revealed Mr Donaldson was seen in Glenties village in the last 24 hours.

"He was observed in Glenties alive yesterday and it looks as if he died some time today," Mr McDowell.

But the minister refused to speculate who may have carried out the murder. "I am not willing to jump to any conclusions because I don't want to, in any sense, to point the finger of blame at this stage, but obviously it isn't helpful. I doubt that whoever did it intended it to be helpful."

Garda technical experts and the state pathologist Marie Cassidy have been called to the scene.

The IRA said they "had no involvement whatsoever" in his death. Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, who spoke to the Donaldson family just before news of the death broke, said he was not prepared to speculate on who might have been responsible. Mr Donaldson, he said, was an agent working for the British government and he did not know who might have been behind the shooting.

But he added: "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."

Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain said he was "completely appalled by this barbaric act". The Irish prime minister, Bertie Ahern, condemned the "brutal murder".

The Democratic Unionist leader, Ian Paisley, said that he had been told that one of Mr Donaldson's hands had been cut off by his killers.

"I have heard that his hand was chopped off in this murder," he told Channel 4 News. "We don't know who has done this but the finger must be pointed towards those who were angry at what this man had done.

"If it is true that his hand was cut off, I think that was an indication of why they did it."

In October 2002 allegations of an IRA spy ring working inside the devolved government led to the suspension of the Stormont assembly. Mr Donaldson was one of the three men allegedly involved in the spy ring. The charges were dropped without explanation. Then in a dramatic twist Mr Donaldson admitted to being a spy in December.

The death of Mr Donaldson came two days before the prime ministers of Britain and Ireland are expected to unveil a new blueprint for reviving power-sharing.

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?