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Family of murdered SF spy believe files Garda holding could shed light on death

By David Young, PA

Published 05/04/2016

Denis Donaldson
Denis Donaldson

The family of murdered IRA spy Denis Donaldson have used the 10th anniversary of his murder to appeal to the Garda to hand over the private journal he was writing at the time of his death to the Police Ombudsman.

Mr Donaldson (55), a senior Sinn Fein official and close colleague of party president Gerry Adams, was shot dead at an isolated cottage near Glenties in Co Donegal in April 2006.

The Belfast man had been living there since his exposure as an MI5 agent the previous year.

Dissident republican group the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the murder three years later, but the circumstances surrounding Mr Donaldson's outing and subsequent assassination have been shrouded in mystery.

The spy's family have lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman, in regard to how his cover was blown.

They believe a journal he was writing in the months before his murder could hold vital information.

Gardai are in possession of the diary and the family have accused them of refusing to grant the ombudsman access to it.

An inquest into the killing has yet to be heard, having been adjourned almost 20 times to facilitate gardai requests for further time to pursue their criminal investigation into the shooting.

On the anniversary of the killing, the Donaldson family issued a statement through their lawyer Ciaran Shiels.

"For the final time, the Donaldson family are calling upon An Garda Siochana to fully cooperate with the ongoing Police Ombudsman's investigation of Denis' exposure in the North by giving the investigators unfettered access to his private journal which was being written by him at the time of his murder.

"The Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland is a fellow law enforcement agency and is following a definite line of inquiry in relation to the family's complaint.

"Despite repeated requests, they have been refused access to this document."

A Garda spokesman said: "A number of individuals have been arrested and questioned in relation to this investigation, as this is a live murder investigation, it is not appropriate to provide further details."

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