Thursday 23 November 2017

Tánaiste urges Adams to fully co-operate in Donaldson case

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. Pic Steve Humphreys
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. Pic Steve Humphreys

Robin Schiller and Niall O'Connor

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has called on Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams to cooperate fully with any upcoming garda investigation into claims he sanctioned the assassination of Denis Donaldson.

As senior Sinn Féin figures accused "vindictive people" of being behind the allegations, Ms Fitzgerald appealed for anyone with information in relation to the 2006 murder to come forward.

Defence: Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness. Photo: PA
Defence: Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness. Photo: PA

Ms Fitzgerald said the public will "make up their mind" in relation to Mr Adams's strenuous denials of any involvement in the killing of the former senior Sinn Féin figure.

The Dublin Mid-West TD insisted "evidence" in relation to the crime is what is key from the garda's perspective.

"Of course if an allegation is made and if there is evidence I would appeal for anyone to come forward, and of course gardaí will investigate if there is evidence. Everybody should cooperate with that investigation, including Gerry Adams," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"Allegations are allegations. I'm in the business of evidence and information brought to gardaí. (I'll) be very clear, any new evidence or new information, the gardaí will investigate.

"He (Mr Adams) will say what he has to say and the public will make up their own minds.

"From a garda point of view what's important is that the evidence, if there is evidence, is brought forward and investigated because we are talking about murder," she added.

However, Finance Minister Michael Noonan remained tight-lipped on the allegations.

"The allegations rose from the murder of Mr Donaldson in Donegal . . . and the gardaí have said this is still an open murder investigation," he told reporters in London.

"So I wouldn't normally comment on garda investigations that are still open."

Read more: Gerry Adams 'prepared to speak to police if asked' following BBC Spotlight allegations

Meanwhile, speaking for the first time on the BBC 'Spotlight' allegations yesterday, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan also indicated her officers are examining the claims.

She said any such allegations will be investigated and "appropriate steps taken thereafter".

Ms Fitzgerald told reporters that gardaí will investigate any avenues that are raised.

"Any matters brought to the attention of An Garda Síochána will be investigated fully and any appropriate steps will be taken thereafter," she said.

The programme makers themselves have defended the decision to air the allegations, - which Mr Adams has strenuously denied.

And for the second consecutive day, the Louth TD received backing from fellow Sinn Féin politicians.

The North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who like Mr Adams was closely associated with Mr Donaldson, said the Sinn Féin leader had "absolutely nothing" to do with the crime.

"Well, in the North I've made my peace with an awful lot of people over the course of the last ten or 15 years. But that programme is made up of people who are old guard RUC, anonymous British agents who, I'm afraid to say are still at large," Mr McGuinness said.

The senior Sinn Féin politician said it was his party's belief that the gardaí have been probing claims by dissident republicans that they were behind the murder at Mr Donaldson's cottage in Glenties, Co Donegal.

Speaking at the Ploughing Championship in Tullamore, Co Offaly, Mr McGuinness said those behind the latest allegations are "at war".

"These people are still fighting the war. Gerry Adams had absolutely nothing to do with Denis Donaldson's killing. And in fact, we've been under the impression within Sinn Féin that over the course of the last ten years, against the back drop of a claim by dissident republicans that they killed him, that gardaí were investigating that angle of inquiry," he said.

"These people are still at war with republicans. We've made our peace and you know, we will continue to make peace with as many people who want to make peace with us.

"I've done that successfully with Peter Robinson, Ian Paisley and I'm now working with Arlene Foster and I'm going to continue doing that against the backdrop of these programmes."

Irish Independent

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