Sinn Fein files at Stormont had information on my wife, claims DUP's McCausland
Secret Sinn Fein files at Stormont contained personal information on the wife of a senior DUP figure, it has been claimed.
Details about a higher education course she was taking at the time were contained on computer discs seized by the PSNI, it was alleged.
Former Executive Minister Nelson McCausland said he and his wife Mary were visited by police a few months after the so-called 'Stormontgate' scandal which led to the suspension of devolution for almost five years.
At the time police raided Sinn Fein offices in Parliament Buildings - on October 4, 2002 - Mr McCausland was a Belfast councillor, representing Oldpark.
His wife had begun a two year course in Community Development and Education - but dropped out for a time after discovering Sinn Fein had detailed information on her.
Writing in the Belfast Telegraph today, Mr McCausland said he lobbied to have the location of the course changed and his wife left it for a year when the former Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education (BIFHE) declined to do so.
"There was nothing about this in the public domain and the only folk who would have known, outside our circle of family and friends, were those associated with the BIFHE course. Yet this information on an individual student had found its way on to one of the Sinn Fein computers at Stormont.
"It is worth remembering that this information was in the office of Denis Donaldson, one of those arrested at the time."
Mr Donaldson and his son-in-law Ciaran Kearney were among three SF members arrested, but charges were dropped. Three years later, in December 2005, Donaldson appeared at a Sinn Fein press conference, flanked by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.
He admitted that he had been a British agent for two decades and a few months later was shot dead in Donegal.
Mr McCausland said: "The recent mention of Stormontgate brought the Whiterock episode to mind, along with the questions that were never answered. Why were Sinn Fein so interested in the location of a further education course?
"Why were they collecting information on the wife of a unionist councillor? Who was it that had access to the information and passed it on to Sinn Fein? I think I know the answers to the first two questions, but I do wonder about the third."
Sinn Fein said it had no immediate comment but might respond in due course. There was no immediate comment from Belfast Metropolitan College, which replaced BIFHE following a merger with Castlereagh College.
There was no response from the PSNI to Mr McCausland's assertions.