Belfast Telegraph

Denis Donaldson family demands answers in murder probe

By Connla Young

The family of IRA informer Denis Donaldson has raised fresh concerns about the PSNI and Garda investigation into his death.

The former paramilitary and senior Sinn Fein officer was blasted to death by a Real IRA hit squad in Co Donegal on April 4 2006.

The previous December, the west Belfast man admitted he had worked as an informer within the republican movement for many years.

The dead man’s grieving family yesterday said both the Garda and PSNI could do more to probe the circumstances of his death.

Last night the family released a copy of a warning delivered by the PSNI to Mr Donaldson two days after the Stormont ‘spy ring’ case collapsed in December 2005.

The former Sinn Fein man had been accused along with two other men of gathering information about the Northern Ireland Office and from local political parties.

In a statement issued through Madden and Finucane Solicitors, the dead man’s family said British security agencies had a part to play in his death.

They said: “We believe five years is sufficient time to answer our fundamental questions. These include serious discrepancies and anomalies in accounts relating to the circumstances leading up to Denis' murder. The Donaldson family cannot investigate those circumstances.

“The role played by British state agencies, particularly PSNI Special Branch, is central to Denis’ murder. That is not idle speculation. We are today releasing the document that precipitated the circumstances of Denis’ exposure and ultimate murder. The existence of this document has been publicly questioned by some individuals and media.

“We are releasing it in order to begin setting the record straight. The chain of events flowing from this document culminated in Denis' murder. The document was issued by one of the agencies which handled Denis as an informer.”

The family says the PSNI told Mr Donaldson he was going to be exposed as an “informant” by the media on December 10. They say the warning was “created” by the Regional Assessment Unit of PSNI Special Branch.

After receiving the warning, Mr Donaldson then admitted his double life as an informer to Sinn Fein.

The family says Mr Donaldson was contacted by his former handler known as ‘Lenny’ five days later on December 15.

The following day he publicly admitted his role as an informer and went into hiding.

Mr Donaldson’s family say the role of the security agent known as Lenny needs to be investigated.

They said: “In order to be effective, thorough, independent and compliant with our family’s rights under Article 2 of the ECHR, any investigation of Denis’ murder must examine the identities, motivations, activities, links, communications and movements of Lenny and their Special Branch associates. Lenny is intimately informed about the events surrounding Denis’ murder. Lenny holds the answers to many questions.

“All of this information, including the document released today, ought to have been obtained by investigating gardai from the PSNI. These indisputable facts should have informed the Garda investigation over the last five years.”

Mr Donaldson’s family say they want to be able to move on. ”Our family wants this case settled in a way which allows us and our society to move forward in a context where state power is no longer unaccountable.”

The PSNI said they “stand ready to assist An Garda Siochana with this investigation in any way possible”. It is understood the PSNI last night referred the matter to the Police Ombudsman.

Background

In 2002 Denis Donaldson was arrested by the |PSNI over an alleged Stormont spy ring. Shortly afterwards, the fragile government here collapsed. In December 2005, all charges over ‘Stormontgate’ were dropped, as a prosecution was “not in the public interest”. Donaldson was exposed as an informer and shot dead in April 2006.

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