Sunday 4 December 2016

Minister says Adams must cooperate with Donaldson probe

Greg Harkin, Cormac McQuinn and Ciaran Murphy

Published 24/09/2016 | 02:30

Murdered: Denis Donaldson. Photo: PA
Murdered: Denis Donaldson. Photo: PA

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor has become the latest Government figure to call on Gerry Adams to cooperate with the Garda investigation into the murder of IRA spy Denis Donaldson if he is asked to do so.

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The Cabinet minister joined Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald in putting pressure on Mr Adams in the wake of new claims about the death of the British spy 10 years ago.

Ms Mitchell O'Connor said: "We'll just have to wait for the truth and wait for the garda findings."

Junior Minister John Halligan said care should be taken with the allegations.

He said: "Everyone has a right to be defended by law until proven guilty of a crime… and he [Mr Adams] hasn't been found guilty of a crime."

Ms Fitzgerald has said the public will "make up their mind" in relation to Mr Adams's strenuous denials of involvement in the killing. She insisted that "evidence" is key in the garda investigation and said: "Everyone should cooperate... including Gerry Adams."

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald once again rallied to the defence of Gerry Adams, insisting the allegation he sanctioned the murder of Denis Donaldson was "a ball of smoke".

The Sinn Féin deputy leader went as far as to call for the makers of BBC's 'Spotlight' programme to provide gardaí with the name of the source who made the claim.

The BBC has defended the integrity of the programme and also rejected calls from Ms McDonald that the 'Spotlight' team pass on the name of the informant who made the claims about Adams to gardaí.

Ms McDonald - who has been forced to defend the Sinn Féin president amid numerous controversies in the past - said the investigation into Mr Donaldson's death has been ongoing for a decade.

"The gardaí … have had no reason to interview Gerry Adams on these matters because Gerry has no involvement," she said.

She said the 'Spotlight' allegation was made by an "anonymous person" who she described as "a self-proclaimed informant and therefore party to the agenda of the British State".

The Dublin Central TD added: "Gerry has answered questions. If he's asked questions, he will answer them."

Meeting

Mr Donaldson's family said they do not believe the Provisional IRA killed him, or that the shooting was sanctioned by Mr Adams.

Lawyer for the Donaldson family Ciaran Shiels met Garda Deputy Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne and two other senior police officers in Belfast yesterday.

Mr Shiels said: "The one theme that has come out of today's meeting is that the theory that was being advanced by BBC 'Spotlight' earlier this week, that this was in some way carried out by the Provisional IRA or authorised by Gerry Adams, I think it's absolute nonsense.

"It does not marry in any way with the lines of inquiry that have been progressed by the guards [Garda] or by the (police) ombudsman."

The controversial 'Spotlight' programme interviewed a former IRA memeber who spied on the organisation for RUC Special Branch.

The chief suspect in the murder is a well-known republican based in Derry.

The murder is believed to have been carried out with the help of republican sympathisers in Donegal.

The murder suspect was formerly in the IRA and is now believed to now be a dissident republican, having fallen out with the leadership of Sinn Féin-IRA.

Detectives on both sides of the Border knew within hours of the assassination how it had been set up.

Irish Independent

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