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Gerry Adams to take action against BBC over Denis Donaldson murder claims

Published 29/09/2016

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

Gerry Adams has said he is taking action against the BBC over allegations about the murder of an MI5 spy in the IRA.

But the Sinn Fein president refused to say if he will sue over claims levelled in the Spotlight current affairs programme in Northern Ireland over who sanctioned the killing of Denis Donaldson.

Mr Adams branded the documentary "nonsense" and last week said he specifically and categorically denied the allegation that he had any involvement in ordering the murder.

Mr Donaldson, 55, a Sinn Fein official and close colleague of Mr Adams, was shot dead at an isolated cottage near Glenties in Co Donegal in April 2006 following his exposure as a British spy.

In a statement the republican leader said: " I have been consulting with my lawyers and we will now be taking action against the BBC in relation to the totally false allegation contained within the BBC Spotlight broadcast.

"This matter is now in the hands of my lawyers and I will not be making any further comment."

It is understood Mr Adams and his lawyers want to pursue the matter as far as possible but he declined to comment further when pressed if that would mean taking a lawsuit in the courts.

Mr Adams said last week that he would not be reluctant to sue if he was advised to.

The BBC defended Spotlight and said its programme dealt with matters of great public interest and that it stood over its journalism.

After Mr Adams' confirmation that he was taking action against the organisation, a spokeswoman said it had "not heard from Mr Adams' lawyers since the programme was broadcast".

The explosive claim over who sanctioned the spy's murder was made by an anonymous man, who claimed he was also a paid state agent in the IRA.

Dissident republican group the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the killing in 2009 but the circumstances surrounding Mr Donaldson's outing as a British agent and subsequent death have long been shrouded in mystery.

Mr Adams also accused anti-Sinn Fein elements within the British establishment of concocting the claims over who sanctioned the murder.

He said he has been raising the case with ministers in the Irish Government for years and w hy the inquest into Denis Donaldson's killing has been adjourned more than a dozen times.

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