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December 16, 2005

SF Official Confirms '20 Yrs A-Spyin' For Brits

McGuinness, Donaldson & Adams
Martin McGuinness, Denis Donaldson and Gerry Adams in Stormont last Friday after Mr Donaldson and two other men were cleared of spying

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IT 12/17/05 SF Official Confirms 20 Yrs Spying For Britain
IT 12/17/05
Adams Says Securocrats Out To Create New Crisis
IT 12/17/05
Stormont No Help To SF-DUP Accommodation
IT 12/17/05
Denis Donaldson: Profile
IT 12/17/05
Stormontgate: How Events Unfolded
EX 12/16/05
Calls For Public Inquiry Into Stormontgate
IT 12/17/05
Minister Defends Role In Connolly Affair
IT 12/17/05
Who Knew What And When Is Key
IT 12/17/05
McDowell Undermined DPP Authority, Says Flood
IT 12/17/05
Statement: Fergus Flood
IT 12/17/05
Nora Wall Miscarriage Of Justice Confirmed


(See Donaldson's Statement: )

SF Official Confirms 20 Years Spying For Britain

Gerry Moriarty, Mark Brennock and Mark Hennessy report.

Senior republican Denis Donaldson, one of the three men
who had Stormont spy ring charges against them dropped last
week, has confirmed he acted as a British agent for the
past 20 years. The statement from the former senior Sinn
Féin official came just hours after party president Gerry
Adams, at a hastily convened press conference in Dublin,
said Mr Donaldson (55) had admitted he was a British spy.

Mr Donaldson's admission caused shock among republicans and
prompted Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to urge the British
government to explain what he termed the "bizarre"
Stormontgate affair.

A Government spokeswoman said last night that Mr Ahern did
not rule out seeking an inquiry into the issue,
"independent of everyone", but first wanted to hear the
British account of the affair.

He was due to make this point to British prime minister
Tony Blair early this morning at an EU summit press
conference in Brussels.

Last week, the North's Public Prosecution Service
controversially dropped the spy-ring charges against Mr
Donaldson and two other men on the grounds that it would
not be in the public interest to proceed with the case.

The so-called Stormontgate affair involved police raids in
October 2002 on Sinn Féin offices in Stormont and on a
number of other premises in Belfast following a PSNI
investigation into an alleged republican spy ring at
Stormont. Large quantities of documents were seized. David
Trimble described the affair as "10 times worse than
Watergate". The North's executive was suspended 10 days

Mr Adams said last night that PSNI officers called to Mr
Donaldson's west Belfast home on Wednesday to warn him he
was shortly to be "outed" as a spy and that his life was in

Mr Donaldson, with his solicitor present, issued a
statement in Dublin last night to RTÉ. He said he deeply
regretted his "activities with British intelligence and
RUC/PSNI Special Branch" and insisted there never was a spy
ring in Stormont.

"I was not involved in any republican spy ring at Stormont
. . . It never existed. It was created by Special Branch,"
he said in his statement.

Earlier, Mr Adams said the alleged spy ring "was a
carefully constructed lie created by the Special Branch".

The Northern Ireland Office insisted last night a spy ring
had existed. "We completely reject any allegation that the
police operation in October 2002 was for any reason other
than to prevent paramilitary intelligence gathering. The
fact remains that a huge number of stolen documents were
recovered by the police. As a result of the recovery of
these documents, a large number of people had to be

Mr Ahern wants an explanation of the Stormontgate affair to
be provided at a scheduled meeting next Monday between the
Northern Secretary Peter Hain and the Minister for Foreign
Affairs Dermot Ahern.

Mr Adams said that he had no previous suspicions about Mr
Donaldson who was effectively his senior official based at
Parliament Buildings. Mr Donaldson's exposure as a British
agent is bound to reawaken republican anxieties over the
Stakeknife affair.

While former senior IRA figure Freddy Scappaticci was
revealed as Stakeknife, there are lingering republican
fears that Stakeknife is an amalgam of highly placed
republicans who had become British agents.

Statement:Denis Donaldson

"My name is Denis Donaldson. I worked as a Sinn Féin
Assembly group administrator in Parliament Buildings at the
time of the PSNI raid on the Sinn Féin offices in October
2002 - the so-called Stormontgate affair.

"I was a British agent at the time. I was recruited in the
1980s after compromising myself during a vulnerable time in
my life.

"Since then I have worked for British intelligence and the
RUC/PSNI Special Branch. Over that period I was paid money.
My last two contacts with Special Branch were as follows:
two days before my arrest in October 2002 and last night,
when a member of Special Branch contacted me to arrange a

"I was not involved in any republican spy ring in Stormont.
The so-called Stormontgate affair was a scam and a fiction.
It never existed. It was created by Special Branch.

"I deeply regret my activities with British intelligence
and RUC/PSNI Special Branch. I apologise to anyone who has
suffered as a result of my activities, as well as to my
former comrades, and especially to my family who have
become victims in all of this."

© The Irish Times


Adams Says 'Securocrats' Out To Create New Crisis

Sinn Féin official Denis Donaldson had admitted he had
been a British intelligence agent for 20 years, party
president Gerry Adams said yesterday during a hastily
arranged press conference in Dublin. Mark Hennessy,
Political Correspondent, reports.

Mr Adams said Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
officers had called to Mr Donaldson's home last Wednesday
to warn him he was about to be revealed as a British agent
and his life was in danger.

Facing questions, Mr Adams said he had had no suspicions
about Mr Donaldson, but he had long suspected British
intelligence involvement in the so-called "Stormont spy

The Northern Ireland executive and assembly collapsed in
2002 after PSNI officers raided the Sinn Féin offices in
Stormont. "We knew that there was no Sinn Féin spy ring in
Stormont," Mr Adams claimed.

"This was a carefully constructed lie created by the
Special Branch in order to cause maximum impact," said the
SF leader, who was accompanied by senior party figure Gerry

"The fact is that the key person at the centre of those
events was an SF member who was a British agent," said Mr
Adams, who emphasised that Mr Donaldson was not at risk of
physical harm from republicans.

He said he became convinced "that there was somebody wrong
in all of this" following the arrests of Ciarán Kearney,
William Mackessy and Mr Donaldson after the PSNI's raids.

His suspicions deepened last week, he said, after charges
against all three were dropped once the prosecution said it
would not offer evidence "in the public interest".

The British government's own aims, he said, were being
subverted by its security and military, which opposed the
Good Friday agreement and refused to accept that "the
British war in Ireland is over".

"They are manipulating the situation for their own narrow
ends," he said, adding that they had "blackmailed, bullied,
coerced, used and abused" informers before throwing them to
one side.

Following the PSNI's visit last Wednesday, Mr Adams said Mr
Donaldson went to Sinn Féin's Northern Ireland chairman
Declan Kearney, who was arrested and later released without
charge in 2002 in connection with an alleged IRA burglary
at Castlereagh police station.

Mr Kearney told him to go to his solicitor, Peter Madden.
Mr Adams said he told Mr Kearney to speak in detail with Mr
Donaldson, accompanied by a colleague, Leo Green.

During this meeting, in Sinn Féin's Falls Road office, Mr
Donaldson admitted his 20-year long ties to British
intelligence and said that he had accepted money for his

Senior party figures then subsequently met and expelled him
from Sinn Féin.

Mr Adams said he believed that "the securocrats" forced Mr
Donaldson's "outing" as a spy, in order to create a new
crisis in the runup to the Independent Monitoring
Commission's report in January.

The commission must declare that the IRA has finally ended
all of its operations if there is to be any chance of
getting Northern Ireland's political institutions back into

Questioned about the damage Mr Donaldson has done to the
party, Mr Adams played down his importance, although this
was strongly disputed by senior Irish officials last night.

"He was not a member of our negotiating team. He was not
involved in any of the senior leadership forums within the
party. He was not a member of the ard comhairle. But, yes,
he was a long-standing member," Mr Adams said.

Asked if the revelation would damage the party's
confidence, Mr Adams said: "For every agent there are tens
of thousands of good, solid republicans."

© The Irish Times

Full text of Adams statement:

"The nature of British rule in Ireland is that for a very
long time it has been driven by a security agenda, with
policy dictated by British Intelligence, state police
and military agencies. The Good Friday Agreement is, as
much as anything else, about ending that.

"The collapse of the power sharing government was blamed
on allegations of a Sinn Fein spy ring at Stormont.

"The fact is that there was no Sinn Féin spy ring at

The fact is that this was a carefully constructed lie
created by the Special Branch in order to cause maximum
political impact.

The fact is that the collapse of the political institutions
was a direct result of the actions of some of those who run
the intelligence and policing system of the British.

The fact is that the key person at the centre of those
events was a Sinn Féin member who was a British agent.

"This is entirely the responsibility of the British

"What is clear is that there are those within the PSNI and
the intelligence agencies who are a law onto themselves,
who use informers, spies and agents and who are
operating to their own agenda with no accountability.
They are manipulating the situation for their own narrow
ends. They have sought to undermine Sinn Féin and are
working against the implementation of the Good Friday
Agreement which is the publicly stated policy of the
British and Irish governments. The British Prime Minister
and the Taoiseach have to wake up to this reality.

"Sinn Féin has been very conscious of the negative role
being played by elements within the British system and we
have raised these matters consistently with both
governments. If Britain's war is over then the British
Prime Minister needs to come to terms with the fact that he
has to end the activities of the securocrats. This entire
episode underlines the need for an end to political
policing. That, and defending the Good Friday Agreement
remains the focus of Sinn Féin."


Stormont Thriller No Help To SF-DUP Accommodation

Background: Conspiracy, deception and games within games
are the order of the day, writes Gerry Moriarty.

Stormontgate is developing like some malevolent form of
Narnia. As soon as you pass through the wardrobe you enter
a dark world of smoke and mirrors - of dirty tricks,
securocrats and IRA and British conspirators.

Last week, when the head of the North's Public Prosecution
Service said he had decided against proceeding with spy
ring charges against Denis Donaldson and two other Belfast
men "in the public interest", it was speculated that the
public interest might be spookspeak for protecting a
British agent or informer operating "deep within the IRA".

Now it seems that was indeed the case, or perhaps part of
the case. In this John le Carré world of intrigue,
espionage and counterespionage it does not pay to be too
definitive. Who knows for sure what dark games are being
played behind other sinister games?

Politically this could cause damage as Bertie Ahern and
Tony Blair prepare for a spring heave next year to bring
Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley closer to a deal to restore
devolution. Building up the prospects of an accommodation
depends on establishing some form of trust. The events now
unfolding around Stormontgate do not help.

Yesterday's revelations are right up there with the
"Stakeknife" allegations against Freddie Scappaticci, the
reputed former head of the IRA's "nutting squad" that dealt
with IRA informers, real or imagined, often brutally.

Mr Scappaticci is now understood to be living in Italy,
assured, we are told, that the end of the IRA "armed
struggle" spares him from being "nutted" himself. The
background to Stakeknife has never been resolved, and many
wonder if the Stakeknife title was an amalgam of a number
of senior IRA spooks, and is this latest revelation another
chapter of this whole extraordinary dark thriller?

BBC security editor Brian Rowan added to the thickening
plot last night by saying he believed Mr Donaldson was not
the mole whose information prompted the Special Branch to
carry out the 2002 Stormontgate raids; that it goes deeper.

Mr Donaldson was one of Sinn Féin's engine-room team. He
was regularly seen in the company of Gerry Adams and Martin
McGuinness. He was a hunger-striker, a personal friend of
Bobby Sands; the head of Sinn Féin's administration at
Stormont; and therefore the eyes and ears of Gerry Adams
and Martin McGuinness at Stormont.

For reasons that Brian Keenan's family could not quite
figure, he travelled to Lebanon in 1988 to meet the head of
Hizbullah to try to get the hostage freed. He was a big
player in Sinn Féin's international division, always a
rather interesting position.

Mr Donaldson was arrested in October 2002 with his son-in-
law Ciarán Kearney; and William Mackessy, a former Stormont
porter. Those arrests triggered the collapse of the
Northern executive and assembly. The case against the men
collapsed in mysterious circumstances last week.

"Outing" Mr Donaldson yesterday, Mr Adams insisted there
was no spy ring at Stormont, that it was "a carefully
constructed lie created by the Special Branch in order to
cause maximum political impact".

In his statement to RTE last night, Mr Donaldson echoed
those comments saying "I was not involved in any republican
spy ring in Stormont. The so-called Stormontgate affair was
a scam and a fiction, it never existed, it was created by
Special Branch."

The Northern Ireland Office refused to go into detail about
Mr Donaldson but insisted there was a spy ring. "The fact
remains that a huge number of stolen documents were
recovered by the police," it said.

It is dangerous to assume anything in this spy story but,
given that the NIO says Stormont documents ended up in
republican hands, then one would expect that they have
evidence to support this allegation.

It is difficult for both Sinn Féin and the NIO to claim
they have clean hands in this business, although that will
not prevent them protesting their innocence of dirty

It is possible this affair can eventually be parked as one
of those bizarre issues that is beyond and not quite
relevant to real politics.

But when you enter such a world of conspiracy and deception
who can say with any certainty that there isn't something
else coming down the tracks to cause more political

© The Irish Times


Denis Donaldson: Profile

Denis Donaldson (55) was the Sinn Féin head of
administration at the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont
when he was arrested and charged with having documents
likely to be of use to terrorists.

The west Belfast resident and one time friend of hunger
striker Bobby Sands was a key aide to Gerry Adams who
helped ensure Sinn Féin's Stormont machine ran smoothly.

Last night, Mr Donaldson said he had been a British agent
for the last two decades, having compromised himself in the
1980s during what was a "vulnerable" period of his life.

"Since then I have worked for British intelligence and the
RUC/PSNI Special Branch. Over that period I was paid
money," Mr Donaldson told RTE.

He said he "was not involved in any republican spy ring in
Stormont. The so-called Stormontgate affair was a scam and
a fiction, it never existed, it was created by Special

"I deeply regret my activities with British intelligence
and RUC PSNI special branch. I apologise to anyone who has
suffered as a result of my activities as well as to my
former comrades and especially to my family who have become
victims in all of this."

Mr Donaldson came to public attention in October 2002 after
the PSNI raided Sinn Féin's offices at Stormont as part of
an investigation into republican intelligence-gathering.

His arrest, along with that of his son-in-law, Ciarán
Kearney, and of William Mackessy, a former Stormont porter,
became known as Stormontgate. Two days later he appeared in
court on five charges, and exactly 10 days after the raid,
devolution collapsed.

During a subsequent High Court bail application, it was
claimed that he had risked his life to help free Beirut
hostage Brian Keenan. Mr Keenan - held hostage in Lebanon
between 1986 and 1990 - sent a letter of reference to the

It said Mr Donaldson had talks with an adviser to the
Hizbullah group holding him. Mr Keenan stated: "For the
whole period of my incarceration, only two human beings put
their lives at risk on my behalf - one was Terry Waite and
the other was Denis Donaldson."

Last week a surprise court hearing was told the Director of
Public Prosecutions was not proceeding with the case
against any of the men. No reason was given.

Mr Donaldson's lawyers said it was because they had been
seeking documents from the crown relating to claims that
the security services had a spying operation.

The day after the charges were dropped Mr Donaldson sat in
a press conference at Stormont flanked by Gerry Adams and
Martin McGuinness.

He insisted the spy-ring charges he had faced were
politically inspired. He said: "There was no spy-ring at
Stormont. There never was".

Additional Reporting : PA

© The Irish Times


Stormontgate: How Events Unfolded


October 4th: Police raid Sinn Féin offices in
Stormont and a number of other premises in Belfast after a
year-long inquiry into an alleged republican spy-ring. Four
people are arrested and hundreds of documents seized.

A top security source tells The Irish Times: "Police are
very, very confident about the strength of their case."

October 6th: SF's chief administrator at Stormont, Denis
Donaldson, is charged with holding confidential details
about members of the police and British soldiers.

October 7th: UUP leader David Trimble claims the affair is
10 times worse than Watergate and says he cannot foresee
the Stormont executive sitting again.

Gerry Adams calls the events "grotesque", "unbelievable"
and "bizarre".

October 14th: The executive, the North-South Ministerial
Council, and the British-Irish Council are suspended.
Direct rule from London is reimposed.

November: The BBC quotes a senior security force claiming
the break-up of the alleged spy ring was assisted by a
police agent "deep within the IRA".


September 10th: Lawyers for the three defendants in the
Stormontgate affair criticise the delay in the case as
"inordinate" and threaten legal action if proceedings are
not expedited.


February: Charges of possessing confidential or restricted
documents are dropped. although the defendants still face
up to 10 years in jail for having documents useful to

July 19th: The North's security minister says costs arising
from the Stormontgate operation are likely to be around £30

This includes the relocation of 454 prison staff, improved
security for others whose details appeared in the documents
seized and numerous stress compensation claims.

The UUP says the real cost could be £100 million.

August 1st: An investigation by Police Ombudsman Nuala
O'Loan finds that the Stormont raid was carried out in a
proper manner and was not politically motivated, rejecting
SF claims to the contrary.


December 8th: The North's Public Prosecution Service drops
the remaining charges against the defendants, saying it is
"no longer in the public interest" to pursue them.

The PSNI confirms that its investigation is over, and
nobody else is being sought.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says that the affair had caused "a
lot of grief for no prosecutions" and adds that it is "all
very interesting".

December 16th: Sinn Féin expels Mr Donaldson, saying he has
admitted to being a British agent.

© The Irish Times


Calls Made For Public Inquiry Into Stormont Revelations

By Michael O'Farrell, Political Reporter

Claims by Sinn Féin that Mr Donaldson has admitted to being
a British agent were last night followed by calls for an
explanation from the British authorities. Ulster Unionist
Party leader Sir Reg Empey asked for an immediate meeting
with British officials.

"If this was the person who was being protected by the DPP,
then there is no reason why these prosecutions cannot

"It actually debunks the claims by Sinn Féin there was no
spy ring operating inside Stormont, when in fact there
was," he said.

In a statement the Democratic Unionist Party said: "It is
now time for a full and detailed explanation from the
government and for them to explain was this the reason for
the dropping of the charges against those accused."

SDLP deputy leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell said he suspected
the decision to drop the DPP case was "a way of covering up
for an informer. We don't know whether Denis Donaldson was
that particular informer. "There is the distinct
possibility, like so many cases in the past, that he is
being used as a scapegoat to cover someone else.

"There is now deep scepticism about what goes on in
elements of the British Government and the Provisional
leadership. The British Government cannot retain
credibility and continue to duck behind smokescreens called
public interest," he said.

In a statement last night the Northern Ireland Office said:
"In terms of the dropping of the prosecution, that was a
matter for the independent prosecuting authority and there
was no political interference whatsoever in that decision."


Minister Defends Role In Connolly Affair

Conor Lally

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has defended his
handling of the controversy around chief executive of the
Centre for Public Inquiry Frank Connolly.

However, he stopped short of rejecting comments by former
judge Feargus Flood, who described Mr McDowell's leaking of
information on Mr Connolly as a "drumhead court-martial".

At the opening of a €16-million administration block in the
Garda Training College in Templemore, Co Tipperary,
yesterday, Mr McDowell said while others were "in no-
comment mode", he was "calling it as I see it". He went on:
"Any former judge is entitled to express their opinions. I
have to do my job, I'm still in office and I have to defend
the integrity of this State. And I stand by everything I've
said and done. I think that the great majority of people,
as opposed to commentators, are with me."

He had not personally handed documents regarding an alleged
bogus passport application by Mr Connolly to Irish
Independent journalist Sam Smyth.

When asked if Mr Connolly's alleged activities posed a
genuine threat to State security, he said: "If you think a
group of people going to South America to exchange
paramilitary know- how and techniques of blowing up bombs
and the like in exchange for tens of millions of dollars
earned from the cocaine industry, and bringing them back to
Ireland to pervert and imbalance the democratic process, if
you think that that's not a national security issue, go and
ask people in the street."

© The Irish Times


Who Knew What And When Is Key

Analysis: The Centre for Public Inquiry is standing
solidly behind Frank Connolly, writes Mark Hennessy.

Since the Frank Connolly controversy erupted in the Dáil on
December 6th, members of the board and staff of the Centre
for Public Inquiry have been hard to find and even harder
to entice to explain their side of the story.

Last night, the centre's chairman, former High Court judge
Mr Justice Feargus Flood, lambasted the Minister for
Justice for his attack on Connolly, claiming the centre had
"provoked the ire" of vested interests since its

Though it is becoming increasingly complicated, the state
of knowledge enjoyed by key parties at certain times over
the last few months is crucial before one has any hope of
making an assessment as to whom to believe.

Producing a letter from the DPP's office, Mr Justice Flood
said Connolly's solicitor, Greg O'Neill, had been told that
the Director of Public Prosecutions had decided in March
2003 not to prosecute the former journalist for travelling
on a false Irish passport. This, said the judge, showed
that McDowell, deprived of the chance of seeing Connolly in
court, then opted for "a private and public blackening" of
his name.

However, the statement from Mr Justice Flood omitted a
qualifying line contained in the letter from the Deputy
Director of Public Prosecutions, Barry Donoghue, which was
seen by The Irish Times last night.

Having said that the DPP had decided in March 2003 not to
prosecute, Donoghue went on: "I should however state that
that decision would be subject to review should further
evidence come to light."

In the past, the DPP never communicated with anyone about
anything, though under James Hamilton, the office has taken
to replying to solicitors in such circumstances more and
more frequently, according to a legal source.

Sometimes the sentence is included in the letters just to
be careful; sometimes, it is what it says: a sword of
Damocles that can be brought down hard if the landscape

The Minister's state of knowledge in 2003 is significant
because he and the Department of Justice's Secretary
General, Seán Aylward, last September swore Chuck Feeney to
secrecy about the passport application.

The two men said they did not know if gardaí would seek a
prosecution and that disclosure would scupper any hope of
one, despite Feeney's wish and need to share this
information with colleagues and others.

In November, Aylward, pressed by Feeney, went back to the
gardaí who told him that they were finished with the case.

By the end of the month, McDowell had given the bogus
passport application to the Irish Independent.

However, it is difficult to see how it benefited him to
deny knowledge of the state of the investigation in
September unless he genuinely did not know it.

If anything, the Minister has been determined to get out as
much negative information about Connolly's role as
executive director of the centre as possible.

The Garda passport application investigation was
substantially finished by March 2003, though the Garda file
remained open, if not actively managed, while the so-called
Colombia Three case proceeded in Bogota.

The issue became "live" following the announcement in
August that the three men, Connolly's brother, Niall, James
Monaghan and Martin McCauley, had arrived back in the State
sometime before.

In September, two senior Garda detectives went to Colombia
for talks with the Colombian authorities, to discuss the
Colombia Three. The movements or otherwise of Frank
Connolly are unlikely to have escaped attention.

© The Irish Times


McDowell Undermined DPP Authority, Says Flood

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has undermined the
authority and the independence of the Director of Public
Prosecutions, former High Court judge Mr Justice Feargus
Flood claimed last night. Mark Hennessy, Political
Correspondent, reports.

In a strongly worded attack, the Centre for Public Inquiry
chairman said the Minister had made "unsustainable and
totally untrue" allegations against the CPI and its
director, Frank Connolly.

Expressing "full confidence" in Mr Connolly on behalf of
the board, Mr Justice Flood said the DPP's office had
confirmed on Thursday that it had decided in March 2003 not
to prosecute him.

The Minister has repeatedly alleged that Mr Connolly
travelled to Colombia in April 2001 on a false passport,
along with his brother, Niall, and convicted IRA bomber
Pádraig Wilson. Following his allegations, the charitable
foundation Atlantic Philanthropies withdrew funding for the

However, the DPP's letter, seen by The Irish Times, makes
clear that the decision not to prosecute Mr Connolly "would
be subject to review should further evidence come to

Meanwhile, Atlantic Philanthropies was given details of the
Minister's December 6th Dáil attack on Mr Connolly before
it decided to withdraw the CPI's funding on the same day.

The foundation contacted the Minister's office early on
December 6th in search of the written Dáil statement, and
was told no advance copy would be given.

The document was placed on the Dáil record shortly after
7pm and made available to Atlantic's New York office in
time for the meeting where the funding cut was decided.

Rejecting the Minister's criticisms, Mr Justice Flood said
the CPI had "provoked the ire of certain vested interests
and their political supporters" since its establishment in
February. The two reports it published so far were "issued
in the public interest, were factually based and devoid of
comment", he said, while inquiries of "public importance"
were under way. The first report, on the construction of a
hotel near Trim Castle, showed that former environment
minister Martin Cullen had refused to heed repeated
warnings from senior environment officials, he said.

Speaking before the judge's statement, Mr McDowell insisted
that the IRA had tried to earn tens of millions of dollars
from Farc guerrillas in Colombia by offering them bomb-
making training.

Meanwhile, a justice official accepted that the Minister
knew the DPP had decided not to prosecute Mr Connolly in
March 2003. However, the Minister had not known in
September of this year - when he briefed Atlantic founder
Chuck Feeney privately about the allegations - whether
gardaí had found any evidence after March 2003.

© The Irish Times


Statement: Fergus Flood

Yesterday's statement: Centre for Public Inquiry ...
Feargus Flood

1 The board of the Centre for Public Inquiry reiterates its
full confidence in its executive director, Frank Connolly,
and his integrity.

2 The board notes the recent controversy surrounding the
CPI. The claim made in Dáil Éireann by the Minister for
Justice, Michael McDowell, that either Frank Connolly or
the CPI, or both, could pose a threat to the security of
the State is entirely without evidential basis,
unsustainable and totally untrue.

3 The CPI is an open, not for profit organisation. It has
published two major reports since it began work in the
spring of 2005.

The most recent report concerns the Corrib gas pipeline
controversy and appears to have provoked the ire of certain
vested interests and their political supporters. The first
report concerned the construction of an hotel in the shadow
of Trim Castle, Co Meath, a national monument in State
care. It raised important issues of public concern
including the manner in which the objections of the most
senior officials charged with protecting the State's
heritage were overruled by a former minister.

Both reports were issued in the public interest, were
factually based and devoid of comment. Other inquiries into
matters of public importance are currently under way.

4 In relation to allegations made against Frank Connolly,
the board of the CPI, as a body committed to high standards
in public life, believes in valued legal principles such as
the presumption of innocence and the application of due
process. On Thursday last, December 15th, 2005, a letter
was issued by the Director for Public Prosecutions. It
stated that the DPP had decided on March 7th, 2003, not to
prosecute Mr Connolly in relation to allegations, which he
has consistently denied, that he used a false passport.

This information would have been available to the Minister
for Justice, his department and the Garda authorities for
up to two years and eight months, yet Mr Connolly was only
informed of the DPP's decision in recent days. The
functions and decisions of the DPP are, by statute,

5 Despite the DPP's decision in March 2003 not to prosecute
Mr Connolly, a private and public blackening of his
character has been unleashed by the Minister.

6 This shows a signal departure from principles of fair
dealing and respect for justice to the individual citizen
by the State which are absolute, save in the most
exceptional cases and where legislated upon by the

7 The methods adopted by the Minister may well have
undermined the status, authority and the statutory
independence of the DPP.

8 A further statement concerning the relationship between
Atlantic Philanthropies and CPI will be issued in due

Feargus Flood chairman.
On behalf of the board of the Centre for Public Inquiry

© The Irish Times


Nora Wall Miscarriage Of Justice Confirmed

The prosecution of a former nun for rape in a case
involving evidence from a witness known to be unreliable
should not have been brought, a judge has said.

The Court of Criminal Appeal earlier this month declared a
miscarriage of justice in relation to the wrongful
conviction of Nora Wall for the rape and indecent assault
of a 10-year-old girl in a care home in Waterford.

The three judges who yesterday gave reasons for their
decision also said there had been an "unfortunate breakdown
in communications or systems failure" between the offices
of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chief State
Solicitor, the Garda Síochána and prosecuting counsel. This
constituted "a serious defect in the administration of
justice brought about however unintentionally in this
instance by the agents of the State".

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said the prosecution which took
place and involved the tendering of corroborative evidence
by a witness known to be unreliable should not have been

Ms Wall, formerly Sr Dominic, was convicted and sentenced
to life imprisonment six years ago.

Mr Justice Kearns said newly discovered facts showed there
had been a miscarriage of justice. These included a crucial
witness at Ms Wall's trial, Patricia Phelan, who admitted
to gardaí and another nun that she had lied about having
witnessed Ms Wall hold down a young girl while a man raped

The proceedings arose after the June 1999 convictions of Ms
Wall and Paul McCabe were overturned a month later by the
Court of Criminal Appeal with no opposition from the DPP.
Both had been convicted of raping Regina Walsh between
January 1988 and December 1989, when she was 10, and of an
indecent assault charge. Mr McCabe was jailed for 12 years
and Ms Wall for life.

Mr Justice Kearns said the evidence in the Wall case went
"to the point where it is now established that Patricia
Phelan, on January 10th, 1997, made a statement to the
Garda Síochána which was untrue and at the trial gave
entirely fabricated evidence, in circumstances which give
rise to a compelling inference of collusion between her and
the complainant, resulting in the fabrication of evidence
which in the judgment of this court would render it unsafe
to leave any of the evidence of either girl to a jury."

The case was almost equally noteworthy for the significant
failures of communication between the various offices and
persons concerned in the prosecution.

Mr Justice Kearns said it was now accepted by the DPP that
there was significant non-disclosure, including the
information that Regina Walsh had made but not pursued an
allegation of rape in England and the non-disclosure of her
material psychiatric history.

Ms Wall was further prejudiced by evidence that Ms Walsh
had recalled alleged episodes of rape by reference to
flashbacks but there was no scientific evidence adduced to
explain the phenomenon of flashbacks.

In acceding to Ms Wall's application, the court did not
find it necessary to distinguish in terms of gravity
between the variously newly discovered facts, which it was
satisfied showed there had been a miscarriage of justice.

The court therefore granted the certificate sought.

© The Irish Times

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