British agent shot dead

by Democrat reporter

THE IRA has denied killing former Sinn Fein official and British agent Denis Donaldson who was found shot dead in Donegal on 4 April. In a short statement released immediately after the republican organisation it "had no involvement whatsoever in the death of Denis Donaldson".

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said he condemned the murder "without reservation". He told reporters at a 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 implication on the peace process other than to act as an incentive for progress.m

Denis Donaldson was reported to have been shot in the head. Two shotgun cartridges were found at the scene. Mr Donaldson's body was missing a hand and there was signs of a breakin at his cottage.

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 December. Gardaí sealed off the area and carried out a forensic examination at the scene.

State pathologist Marie Cassidy was called to the scene to carry out a post-mortem examination. Minister for justice Michael McDowell said Gardaí units had been quick to seal off the Donegal border once the discovery had been made.

The former head of Sinn Fein administration at Stormont publicly admitted being an agent for over 20 years, on 8 December, at a dramatic press conference organised by Sinn Fein. Mr Donaldson said he had been used by British intelligence agencies to collapse the Stormont executive three and a half years ago in a political coup aimed at saving the political career of former UUP leader David Trimble.

The killing has been widely condemned by political leaders throughout Ireland. Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley was quick to point the finger at the IRA. He told journalists that the death would have implications for joint proposals to restore the power sharing executive in the North.

Speculation rife over agent's death

REPUBLICAN'S IN Belfast have said they were not surprised at the news that former Sinn Fein official Denis Donaldson had been found shot dead in a secluded, mountainous region of Donegal last week.

Speaking to the Irish Democrat, a number of republicans gave their reactions to the death of Mr Donaldson.

Some pointed to the significance of a scheduled meeting between British prime minister Tony Blair and taoiseach Bertie Ahern in relation the killing. Others speculated it may have been the work of dissident republicans. They did not want to be identified.

One veteran republican in west Belfast, and a former friend of Mr Donaldson, said the news of his violent death "had not been unexpected."

"It's ironic that, throughout the time a knew him, he was good at not making too many enemies and keeping everyone sweet. In the end he made were many, including the Brits. His death had not been unexpected."

Another veteran republican said if there were signs of his body being mutilated it may point to the work of dissident republicans.

"Denis was already debriefed by the movement. People outside the movement, people who may have felt compromised by Denis' activities and may not have been privy to that information, they wanted to know more. If his body was multilated before being shot, it would obviously suggest he was interrogated."

A republican activist who knew Mr Donaldson during his time in east Belfast's Short Strand area where Donaldson grew up, said it was significant that the killing took place two days before a meeting between the Irish and British prime ministers in Co. Armagh on 6 April. The two men set out their proposals for the establishment of a shadow assembly as a step towards full restoration of power sharing.

"Denis was expendable. It was caught off-side by his agents and that's why they threatened to out him. If they believed they could expediate a political objective leading up to a series of political engagements by killing him, they could. It should be interesting to see how unionists will react to it."

Gardaí sources in Donegal have indicated that they believe dissident may have been responsible for the killing. Gardaí in the county had warned Mr Donaldson his life may have been in danger after the Sunday World newspaper revealed details of his location.

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2006-04-07 15:08:11.
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