Belfast Telegraph

Family of Denis Donaldson seek return of murdered spy's journal

By Sue Doherty

The family of a murdered Sinn Fein official turned spy wants the NI Police Ombudsman to help them recover his journal.

Denis Donaldson, a former member of the Provisional IRA and a prominent Sinn Fein activist from Belfast, was exposed as a police and M15 spy in December 2005. He was murdered in April 2006 at a remote cottage near Glenties, Co Donegal.

His familly, who claim that members of the PSNI played a role in exposing him, have asked the NI Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, to investigate.

On Thursday, the family's lawyer, Ciaran Shiels of Madden & Finucane Solicitors, called for the Ombudsman to intervene and ensure that An Garda Siochana, the Irish police, hand over Mr Donaldson's journal, which he said has "obvious relevance" to the investigation.

Mr Shiels told the Belfast Telegraph that he and the family "have sought a meeting with the Ombudsman in relation to the issue of the journal that Mr Donaldson was writing in Donegal at the time of his murder."

He continued: "We believe it has obvious relevance to the Ombudsman’s investigation in relation to the circumstances of the exposure of him as an agent by elements in the PSNI."

Referring to the gardai's refusal to return the journal, on grounds of "national security", Mr Shiels said: "It is an appalling situation whereby we have the Guards as a law enforcement organisation in the South denying the Ombusdman’s office as a law enforcement agency in the North access to relevant evidence concerning allegations of the most grave misconduct.

"We have formally called upon PONI to take legal action to resolve this issue and the Ombudman’s office has confirmed that a date for a direct meeting with Dr Maguire is currently being arranged.”

When asked to comment on the issue, a spokesperson from the Ombudsman's office stated: "This complaint was reopened with the appointment of Dr Maguire as Police Ombudsman in 2012, and is now drawing to a close.

"Within the next few weeks we will be approaching the PSNI and An Garda Siochana about a number of outstanding issues.

"Mr Donaldson’s family has indicated it has new information, which we will also need to examine."

It is understood that the proposed meeting is likely to take place before the end of July.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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