Donaldson inquest adjourned for 11th time
After nearly seven years and 11 attempts to find out the truth, the inquest into the killing of senior Sinn Fein member turned MI5 informer Denis Donaldson is on hold again.
Donaldson, who dramatically outed himself as a spy in December 2005, was shot dead at his remote hide-out near Glenties in Donegal just months later.
His family avoided Thursday’s hearing, fearing that it would again be adjourned. They were right.
“[The Donaldson family] feel that the only mechanism whereby the truth might come out in relation to this is through the inquest proceedings or through [Police Ombudsman] Dr Maguire’s investigations now in the north,” said family lawyer Ciaran Shields.
Donaldson outed himself after his handler called ‘Lenny’, phoned the double agent at his west Belfast home. He warned him that he was about to be exposed as an informer following a public controversy over an alleged IRA spy ring at Stormont, known as ‘Stormontgate’.
Donaldson then kept in contact with his handler at his Donegal hideaway, but ‘Lenny’ has never been questioned by the 26 County Garda police, who have shown little interest in the killing.
While dissident republicans were blamed for his killing, many believe Donaldson knew the identities of a number of other high level republican informers, and was killed to guarantee his silence. Some doubt that the true story of his death will ever emerge.
“It was running in the media in the aftermath of the murder that the cottage was under electronic surveillance, that’s a matter that the family have raised with An Garda Siochana, and that Special Branch were well aware of the existence of the cottage,” explained Mr Shields.
“It was searched during the course of the initial Stormontgate raid and also because members of the family have maintained that Special Branch continued intermittent contact with their father when he was in hiding in Donegal.”
While both the Gardai and the police in the North claim to be investigating the case, there have been no new developments.