05 April 2006


Daily Ireland

British informer Donaldson is found dead at his isolated Donegal cottage hide-out – Gardaí say they haven’t ruled out suicide. Questions raised over who benefits from agent’s death.

by Mick Hall

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Gardai near the scene outside Glenties - Photo by Eoin McGarvey

The IRA last night denied killing former Sinn Féin official and British agent Denis Donaldson who was found dead in Donegal yesterday.
In a short statement released last night, the republican organisation it “had no involvement whatsoever in the death of Denis Donaldson”.
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said he condemned the murder “without reservation”.
Last night he told reporters at the site of a former RUC station in Andersonstown in west Belfast that he wished to totally disassociate Sinn Féin and party supporters from Mr Donaldson’s death.
Asked about the circumstances around what appeared to be a savage killing, Mr Adams said: “Denis Donaldson worked for Special Branch and there was a lot of messy and dirty business there, so I’m keeping an open mind.”
He added: “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 there should be no implications for the peace process other than to act as an incentive for progress. The Sinn Féin leader offered his condolences to the Donaldson family whom he described as “decent republicans and decent people”.
Denis Donaldson was reported to have been shot in the head.
Gardaí in Donegal were alerted to the incident just before 5pm. His body was discovered near the village of Glenties outside a remote cottage where he had been living after being exposed as a a long-standing British agent last November.
Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said Mr Donaldson had been seen in Glenties village 24 hours prior to his body being discovered. Gardaí units, he said, had been quick to seal off the Donegal border once the discovery had been made.
The former head of Sinn Féin administration at Stormont publicly admitted being a British agent on December 8 at a dramatic press conference organised by Sinn Féin.
The killing has been widely condemned by political leaders throughout Ireland.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he condemned the “brutal and callous murder”.
He added: “We hope that whoever was responsible for this callous act will be brought to justice as soon as possible.”
Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley was quick to point the finger at the IRA. He said: “If what I have heard is true that they cut his hand off that would show that they were saying here is a hand that signed away, what we would say, his obligation to IRA/Sinn Féin and we will deal with him, and it looks like that sort of a murder.”
Mr Paisley claimed Mr Donaldson’s death would have implications for joint proposals to established a shadow assembly scheduled to be announced on Thursday by the Irish and British leaders.
The Irish government insisted plans to unveil proposals for a new power-sharing executive later this week will go ahead despite the killing.
“The dark detail that surrounds this murder is a tragic and regrettable reminder of Northern Ireland’s past,” a government spokesman said.
“The focus has to be on allowing positive politics to take root and achieve agreement with leadership in Northern Ireland.”
British prime minister Tony Blair and Mr Ahern are due in Armagh City tomorrow to announce the proposals were they are expected to announce a timetable to revive power-sharing in the North.
Condemning the killing of Donaldson, SDLP deputy leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell said it was “an appalling and brutal murder”.
He said: “Everybody has the right to life. Nowhere on this island does anybody have the right to take life.
“There must now be a very thorough Garda investigation. Everybody and every organisation must co-operate fully with that investigation. The killers of Denis Donaldson must be brought to justice.”
A Northern Ireland Office spokesman said: “Nothing will deflect the government from its aim of ensuring political progress in Northern Ireland.”
Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey condemned those behind the killing but said when the isolated location where Mr Donaldson was living was considered then he “must have been seen by many as a sitting duck”.
Mr Empey added: “There were many people both inside and outside the republican movement who would have been happy to see him go.
“Whether another spy who was in the republican movement is responsible or others who would regard his removal as tidying up loose ends, we should not be surprised by this development.”
The Sinn Féin leader in the Dail, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, echoed Gerry Adams’ comments of condemnation and cautioned that people should “not rush to judgment in relation to this brutal killing or try to make political capital out of it”.
He added: “The Donaldson family have been through hell for the last number of months ever since Denis admitted he worked as a spy for the British security services.
“That has now been compounded in the most brutal fashion possible with his murder.”
He insisted those who had carried out the killing had a different agenda from that of Sinn Féin.

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