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December 18, 2005

Stormontgate Fallout

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News about Ireland & the Irish

TO 12/18/05 Focus: The Spy At The Heart Of The IRA
SL 12/18/05 Spy Who Left His Handlers Out In The Cold
SS 12/18/05 SF Official Unmasked As Spy Flees To Continent
UT 12/18/05 British Spy Ring Operated At Stormont - SF
SB 12/18/05 Committed Republican, Serious Thinker, Spy
SB 12/18/05 Sinn Fein Spy Refused Police Protection
NH 12/18/05 How A Friend Of Bobby Sands Became Informer
GU 12/18/05 20 Years Of Treachery
SL 12/18/05 Timeline The Unmasking Of Donaldson As A Spy
NH 12/18/05 It All Leads Somewhere. But Not To An Assembly
GU 12/18/05 Donaldson 'Was Not The Only Spy In Sinn Fein'
NH 12/18/05 Serving The Agenda Of Two Masters
TE 12/18/05 Adams Should Quit Over Spying Revelations-SDLP
BB 12/18/05 Questions Arise From 'Stormontgate'
SL 12/18/05 Sands Pal Sold Out Patriot Game Of The Provos
SL 12/18/05 Agent's Outing Is Too Neat - Ex-Cop
II 12/18/05 Opin: High-Profile Sinn Fein Man Is Garda Spy
II 12/18/05 Opin: Second Mole In SF On Brink Of Exposure
IT 12/17/05 Opin: Questions Remain About Murky Affair
SL 12/18/05 Opin: Public Is Casualty Of 'Dirty Tricks'

(Poster's Note: I have done very little of this in the
past, but I have edited several stories here to cut out the
redundancy of presenting the circumstances around the most
recent revelations. I have indicated which articles have
been edited. If you want to read the full article, click
on the link. Jay)


Focus: The Spy At The Heart Of The IRA

Denis Donaldson climbed his way from Belfast's streets to
the top of the republican movement. Yet on Friday it was
revealed that for the past 20 years he had been passing
secrets to London. Liam Clarke tells the story of his
double life as a British agent in a dirty war

As a young man, Denis Donaldson was good at getting out of
scrapes, both as an IRA volunteer and as a legendary
seducer. Last week he found himself in a dilemma that
tested his plausibility to the limit.

For nearly 40 years this diminutive charmer has been at the
heart of the republican movement, first as a teenage gunman
and later as Gerry Adams's most trusted fixer — the clever
little man doing the hard work while the big names enjoyed
the limelight.

In 2002 he was arrested and accused of being a key figure
in what the police claimed was a Sinn Fein spy ring at
Stormont, the seat of British government in Northern
Ireland. The ensuing scandal caused the collapse of power
sharing between Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists.

Donaldson also had a hidden life. Last Tuesday, as the
winter rain swept through Belfast, his past caught up with
him. He was spirited to a furtive meeting with his Special
Branch handlers who warned him that his secret was out: he
was about to be unmasked as a long-standing British agent.

To his credit he took charge of his own fate. Three days
later he confessed at a press conference in Dublin that he
had been working for British intelligence and the Northern
Ireland Special Branch for at least 20 years.

Reporters were startled. To some it was like a scene from
Monty Python. Here was a republican veteran, regarded as
one of the Sinn Fein leadership's most trusted
apparatchiks, a man who had been accused of spying against
the British, telling them incongruously: "My name is Denis
Donaldson . . . I was a British agent."

He confessed: "I was recruited in the 1980s after
compromising myself during a vulnerable time in my life."

Donaldson's pre-emptive "outing" of himself is more than
one man's personal drama. For Northern Ireland's politics
it is a huge shock that has unleashed a wave of conspiracy
theories. For republicans it is yet more proof that their
leadership has been penetrated for years by British

For Adams it is a humiliation. The Sinn Fein president said
he had suspected that an informant was at work but that
Donaldson had never occurred to him as a likely candidate.

People who had known Donaldson for years were stunned by
the revelation. A Sinn Fein colleague told Daily Ireland, a
pro-Sinn Fein newspaper: "No one, I mean no one, ever
pointed the finger of suspicion at Denis Donaldson. He was
a loyal party servant. No task was too small for him, no
obligation too onerous. He was at the heart of every
election campaign."

Who was this helpful little man and where did his true
loyalties lie?

DONALDSON was born in 1950 into a traditional republican
family in the nationalist enclave of Short Strand in east
Belfast. A beleaguered area surrounded by larger loyalist
communities, Short Strand has produced many republican

He joined the IRA in the mid-1960s while he was still in
his teens, well before the start of the Troubles. When the
IRA split into Marxist Official and traditionalist
Provisional wings in December 1969, Donaldson went with the
Provos and quickly became involved in their urban bombing
campaign. (He served alongside Seanna Walsh, who was chosen
by the IRA to read out its statement ending all offensive
activities earlier this year.) In 1971 Donaldson was caught
during an attempt to bomb a distillery and government
buildings and was sentenced to four years in the Maze
prison, his first and only jail term.

In 1974 a camera was smuggled into his cell and a famous
picture emerged. Intended as a joke to boost the morale of
relatives and supporters, it shows four prisoners standing
beside a mock-up of a Belfast street, pretending to have
escaped from the Maze.

Among them is Donaldson, a slight bearded figure, with his
arm stretched up to encircle the broad shoulders of Bobby
Sands — who would be the first of 10 republican prisoners
to die on hunger strike in 1981.

Donaldson and Sands spent three years in jail together and
became close friends. This link helped to establish
Donaldson's credibility within the close group of former
prisoners who would reshape the IRA and Sinn Fein under
Adams's leadership during the 1980s.

After he was released from jail Donaldson became a key
Adams ally against the previous generation of IRA leaders.
He also built up links with foreign revolutionary groups
which would supply the Provos with weapons and training.

In August 1981, three months after Sands's death, Donaldson
and William "Blue" Kelly, a leading IRA gunrunner, were
arrested by French police at Orly airport in Paris. The
duo, who were travelling on false passports, told the
French authorities that they were returning home after
spending several months in a Lebanese training camp.

Donaldson was allowed to go home despite the admission and
some suspect that this may have been the moment when he was
turned by intelligence agents, but by his own account it is
too early.

He continued to build republican links with groups such as
Eta (the Basque terrorists) and Yasser Arafat's PLO,
travelling widely in Europe and South America as Sinn
Fein's director of international affairs.

By 1983 he was back in Short Strand where he stood
unsuccessfully as a council candidate and reorganised Sinn
Fein and the IRA in the area. Richard O'Rawe, who was head
of the Sinn Fein press office at the time, remembers him as
"a nice enough wee guy to talk to.

He represented Short Strand and would come into
headquarters to report what was going on. He always took an
interest in what was happening, but I can't say I was
suspicious of him."

If, as Donaldson himself suggests, he was first persuaded
by the security forces to work for them "in the 1980s after
compromising myself", then the reason may lie in an
embarrassing incident in his personal life.

Former IRA colleagues point to an occasion when the police
raided a house in the Ligoniel area of west Belfast and
found Donaldson, a married man, in bed with a local woman.
Even that may be a cover story, however, because
Donaldson's wife Alice was told about what had happened by
the police. Like many senior republicans in the mid-1980s,
Donaldson seldom spent the night at home for fear of arrest
or loyalist attack, and this provided many opportunities
for extramarital liaisons.

One former IRA member said that he was a well known
"chaser", as it was known in Belfast. If so the police may
have threatened to disclose other affairs; or perhaps this
is yet another cover story thrown up by Donaldson to hide
the deeper secrets of his double life.

Former Special Branch and military intelligence officers
say that a grudge or an ideological change of heart is a
more common lever for recruiting an agent than blackmail or
money. One said: "If you want someone to work for you for
several years you have got to look for a better motivation
than catching him with his pants down. A guy who you are
blackmailing can't be trusted in the long term."

As events were to show, Donaldson would indeed prove an
unreliable agent.

IF this was the period when he was recruited, Donaldson
initially brought a rich dowry to his handlers, including a
full account of the Provos' international allies and arms

He remained highly thought of within the republican
movement and in 1987, when he was undoubtedly a police
agent, he was dispatched by Sinn Fein to his old stamping
ground in Lebanon to try to secure the release of Brian
Keenan, the Belfast hostage.

His mission was unsuccessful but on his return he said that
he had secured meetings with both Hezbollah and Nabi Beri's
Amal militia.

After that he sank into the background as part of the Sinn
Fein bureaucracy, at one point claiming that MI5 had tried
to recruit him as an agent during a holiday abroad.

By the early 1990s he was emerging as a key supporter of
the peace process and was involved in the preparation for
the IRA ceasefire, which came in 1994. This was a time when
the British government was in secret contact with the IRA.
Having someone like Donaldson in place would have given it
an invaluable read-out on the true intentions of Sinn Fein
and the IRA. Donaldson was later moved to America, after
the Clinton White House overlooked his explosives
convictions to give him a visa. He set up Sinn Fein's first
office there and organised the groundbreaking first trips
to the United States by Adams and Martin McGuinness.

He had an invaluable listening post not only on the IRA's
US support network but also on the US administration, which
was at loggerheads with the British government on many
aspects of Irish policy. Donaldson met State Department
officials regularly, carrying messages back and forth from
the republican leadership.

He also met Larry Zaitschek, a New York chef who later
travelled to Ireland and who is now wanted in connection
with an IRA raid on Special Branch headquarters in

Although Donaldson was an important agent to the British
during these years, former intelligence officers doubt that
he passed on all the information to which he had access.
Otherwise he would not have survived for two decades.

As the peace process began to provide political dividends
in the form of the Good Friday agreement and power sharing,
Donaldson became head of the party's administration in the
parliament buildings in Stormont.

Police believe that he knew of an IRA spy ring at the heart
of the British administration at Stormont but kept quiet
about it for fear that his role would be exposed.

Donaldson apparently did not know that the spy ring was
revealed to the RUC Special Branch by a lower-level agent
whose information sparked a three-month surveillance
operation known by the codename Operation Torsion.

A mass of intelligence material gathered by the IRA at
Stormont was removed from a house in Belfast by the police,
copied and returned in the vain hope that Bobby Storey, the
IRA's head of intelligence, would eventually take
possession of it and expose himself to arrest.

This entrapment and surveillance operation took place
against strong advice from MI5 who urged the Police Service
of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to seize the papers and leave it
at that. It reasoned that this would be enough to halt the
spying operation and bring Donaldson into line.

In the end the police decided to recover the IRA
intelligence cache and make what arrests they could —
including Donaldson and his son-in-law Ciaran Kearney. The
affair led to the collapse of power sharing and the fall of
David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist leader, who was blamed
by loyalist voters for being too trusting of Sinn Fein. In
the continuing political fall-out, Ian Paisley's Democratic
Unionist party ousted the Ulster Unionists as the majority
party at the last general election.

Sinn Fein claimed that the whole "Stormontgate" affair had
been designed to collapse the power sharing executive, but
this was dismissed by Nuala O'Loan, the Northern Ireland
police ombudsman, who said the police operation had been
fully justified.

Just over a week ago, however, charges against Donaldson,
Kearney and a former civil servant called William Mackessy
had to be withdrawn when the police were refused a public
interest immunity certificate, which would have protected
the identity of the agent who tipped them off in the first
place. A court hearing was told that the director of public
prosecutions felt that proceeding was "no longer in the
public interest".

Events then moved fast. Summoned by his Special Branch
handlers on Tuesday, Donaldson was told that they had been
tipped off by yet another source within the IRA and Sinn
Fein that the net was closing in on him. They were there to
offer him protection under their "duty of care" to

Instead of taking up the police offer, Donaldson decided to
face the music. Resettlement and a new life would have
meant losing contact with his family, many of them active

Ten years earlier Donaldson would almost certainly have
taken the chance to get out of Belfast. The alternative
then would have been interrogation, torture and execution
by the IRA's internal security squad.


A west Belfast republican, he was a senior figure in the
IRA's internal security division responsible for rooting
out informants. He was also an agent, codenamed Stakeknife,
for a British special forces unit.

Scappaticci agreed to change sides in 1978 after becoming
disillusioned with IRA violence. He was trusted by senior
republicans and was a friend of Gerry Adams, so his
unmasking by the press in 2003 was a huge embarrassment to
the republican movement.

He is now being investigated by police who are reviewing
all unsolved murders during the Troubles.

The moles who pentrated the IRA


Had a similar role to Denis Donaldson but at a lower level.
From a nationalist area but a member of the British Army,
Carlin was sent back to Derry in 1984 to spy on Sinn Fein.
His handlers never asked him to join the IRA. Instead he
reported to London on political thinking in Sinn Fein and
was an invaluable asset in the early 1990s when he was able
to confirm the bona fides of Martin McGuinness and Adams.
Carlin's cover was blown after a drunken MI5 agent
described him to IRA prisoners. He has now resettled in


This agent reached a more senior position within the IRA
and Sinn Fein than any of the others. He was a member of
the IRA's GHQ staff, a Sinn Fein councillor and a member of
Sinn Fein's ruling council, all the time working for the
gardai. It took MI5 a full year in Holland to debrief him.
O'Callaghan's biggest success was in 1984 when his
information led to Martin Ferris, now a Sinn Fein TD, being
arrested on board a trawler with seven tons of weapons. He
now lives in London.


Known as Agent Carol he infiltrated the IRA in west Belfast
in the early 1990s. He claims to have saved about 50 lives
by tipping off the police about attacks. After his cover
was blown, he escaped an IRA interrogation squad by jumping
out of a third-storey window. After being resettled in
Britain, he was tracked down by the IRA and shot. He
survived and has moved again.


The RUC convinced him to join the INLA; after he wrecked
its operation in Derry, Gilmour was then encouraged to join
the IRA and repeat the method. His supergrass evidence was
the centrepiece of the largest criminal trial in British
legal history, but was ultimately rejected by the court. He
now lives in England and is one of several IRA agents to
tell all in a book.


Spy Who Left His Handlers Out In The Cold

By Alan Murray
18 December 2005

DOUBLE dealer Denis Donaldson did not tell his MI5 handlers
that he was at the heart of Sinn Fein's Stormont spy-ring.

The 55-year-old Sinn Fein veteran didn't want close
associates arrested in a security swoop.

And when the PSNI's Special Branch uncovered the IRA's
intelligence-gathering operation through another agent
inside Sinn Fein, and began a top secret investigation, it
was too late for the Secret Service to save their own
highly-placed agent.

It is also suspected that Donaldson didn't tell his MI5
handlers about the spy-ring because he feared too few knew
about it and the source would be quickly exposed.

"He simply didn't tell his handlers about it," said a
senior security source.

"That's the long and the short of it. He thought it could
be run and never discovered. He also he feared that people
close to him would be destroyed if there was an
investigation and arrests and trials.

"When it was discovered through another informer then
Donaldson and others became suspects. For whatever reason
it was decided to pursue the issue through a criminal
investigation and MI5 could do nothing for him, it was too

It's certain that Donaldson provided top grade intelligence
to his MI5 handlers about Sinn Fein's negotiating positions
in discussions with the Government from 1994 onwards.

He became closer to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness
during negotiations leading up to the Good Friday Agreement
in 1998.

His elevation to the top tier in Sinn Fein was cemented
when he was appointed the party's Head of Administration at

Exposed and embarrassed, Donaldson has attempted to repay
Sinn Fein by claiming the 'Stormontgate' episode was
created by the PSNI's Special Branch section and did not
exist in reality.

The former prison pal of Bobby Sands made this claim during
a televised admission of his spy role on Friday evening in
which he admitted that he had been "compromised" in the
1980s shortly after he was released from the Maze.

Donaldson didn't divulge how he was compromised by MI5 but
hinted that intelligence had exploited an indiscretion to
persuade him to work for them.

One former RUC agent handler said Donaldson's concealment
of the Stormont intelligence gathering operation was not

"The rule of thumb in running an agent within a
paramilitary organisation or Sinn Fein is to expect that
they will hold back something from time to time," he said.

"You expect to hear 90pc at best and hope the outstanding
10pc isn't either too serious or too crucial.

"Informants have to protect themselves to some degree. They
trust us but there's a self preservation dimension.
Donaldson probably felt that so few knew about the IRA's
operation that it would be dangerous to divulge it. With
hindsight it would have been better for him if it had been
successfully aborted by MI5 through some 'accidental'
interception early on.

"That has been done many times in the past.

"But Donaldson decided not to tell his handlers about the
spying plan and by the time they became aware of it, the
criminal investigation was well underway and it was too
late to create an 'accidental' interception."


Sinn Fein Official Unmasked As Spy Flees To Continent

(Poster's Note: Edited For Duplication Of Reports)

Murdo Macleod
Political Correspondent

A PROMINENT Irish Republican who has been unmasked as a
British government spy was last night believed to have fled
to the Continent in fear of his life.

Denis Donaldson's house in West Belfast was found
abandoned, with informed sources saying there was no
prospect of him returning to Ulster or the Republic of
Ireland because of the risk of being killed. Scotland has
also been ruled out as a bolthole.

Although the IRA has put its arms beyond use and should in
theory not be able to harm Donaldson, it is feared that
individuals within the Republican movement would want to
kill him in revenge for having been a British mole.

One informed Belfast-based source told Scotland on Sunday:
"He has gone to a bolthole on the Continent, either France
or Italy. He can basically forget about coming back to West
Belfast. Even if the Sinn Fein leadership says he is not to
be harmed, he will always worry that someone from the
movement will regard him as having betrayed 'the cause' and
will want to get him."

The source added: "He won't have gone to Scotland either.
He will regard Scotland as much too risky."

But one informed source claimed that any espionage by Sinn
Fein would have been a cosmetic exercise designed to keep
extremists in the Republican movement from resorting to

She said: "If there was spying then it was gathering of
information that would never be used. It worked like this:
the IRA guys and the hardliners keep agitating for a return
to the 'armed struggle'. So to keep them on board the
leadership would say, 'Don't worry, our boys are in there
using the system, carrying out spying.'"


British Spy Ring Operated At Stormont - Sinn Fein

(Poster's Note: Edited For Duplication Of Reports)

The only spy ring which operated at Stormont was run by the
British Intelligence Services, Sinn Fein's chief negotiator
Martin McGuinness insisted today.

Following the dramatic revelation yesterday that Sinn
Fein`s former head of administration at Stormont Denis
Donaldson had been a British spy for two decades, the Mid
Ulster MP stopped short of calling for a public inquiry
into the affair.

Mr McGuinness asked: "What would a public inquiry achieve?

"In the circumstances the unionists have called for an
inquiry. Let`s see if they get one.

"Let`s see if that happens.

"It is very, very clear from Sinn Fein`s perspective - and
I think this is shared increasingly by many other people
within our society - that there was a spy ring at Stormont,
but it was a British spy ring controlled by securocrats, by
people within the establishment who are hostile to the
peace process."

Mr Donaldson, 55, was one of three men arrested in October
2002 and accused of operating a republican spy ring at

A republican source told the Press Association: "This isn`t
just shocking. It is gut-wrenching."

As a trusted Sinn Fein aide at Stormont, he was liked by
many of his colleagues and known for a droll sense of

The 55-year-old was also familiar to staff employed by the
Northern Ireland Assembly and the other political parties
at Stormont.

Now he faces an uncertain future.

In an interview with BBC Radio Ulster`s Inside Politics
programme, Mr McGuinness said he would also like to know
what was meant by the Public Prosecution Service when it
said at the Crown Court in Belfast last week that it was
withdrawing its case against Mr Donaldson and his two co-
accused because it was not in the public interest.

"I think I would be as interested as anyone else," he said.

"But there is no doubt at this stage. The fact that Denis
Donaldson has admitted to being a British agent and working
on behalf of the British Intelligence Services is a very
clear indicator that that was one dimension - but it may
not be the only."


Committed Republican, Serious Thinker, British Spy

18 December 2005 By Colm Heatley

Brought up in the staunchly republican Short Strand area of
east Belfast, 55-year-old Denis Donaldson was steeped in
republican history.

His father was an IRA man in the 1950s and it wasn't long
before a youthful Donaldson became involved with the
republican movement. Having joined the IRA in the 1960s,
Donaldson was sentenced to ten years in Long Kesh for
explosives offences.

It was during this time that he met key republican figures
Bobby Sands, Gerry Adams and Seanna Walsh, the republican
who just three months ago announced the end of the IRA's

Released in 1976, Donaldson became active in the IRA and
Sinn Féin in Belfast, helping to build up a party that was
seen as little more than a talking shop at the time.

His time in Long Kesh's Cage 16, regarded as a republican
think tank, had bolstered his reputation as a committed
republican and a serious thinker.

A quiet, courteous man who was respected for his
intelligence, Donaldson quietly rose through the republican
ranks in the 1980s and 1990s.

However, by the time he flew to Lebanon in 1987 as part of
a republican delegation that tried to secure the release of
Irish hostage Brian Keenan, he was already working for
Special Branch.

His inclusion in the delegation, which held ultimately
unsuccessful talks with Hezbollah was an indicator of the
trust republicans placed in him. His international contacts
helped in his work as an IRA intelligence officer. Always
in the background, Donaldson shunned the spotlight.

His one foray into electoral politics came in 1983 when he
stood as Sinn Féin's east Belfast candidate in the
Westminster elections and polled 682 votes.

As the peace process began to develop momentum in the early
1990s Donaldson was playing a key role in coordinating Sinn
Féin's offices in the United States.

He helped organise the first US trips by Gerry Adams and
Martin McGuinness and was granted a visa waiver to enter
the country.

When the Assembly was established in 1998, Donaldson was
given the key job of head of Sinn Féin administration. From
then until his arrest in October 2002 he was in a position
to feed his handlers valuable information.

His comment made last Friday night that he became an
informer after "compromising himself at a vulnerable period
in his life'' has led to speculation that it was an
extremely personal, but not necessarily illegal, issue that
led to his recruitment by Special Branch.


Sinn Fein Spy Refused Police Protection

18 December 2005 By Paul T Colgan and Colm Heatley

Denis Donaldson, the senior Sinn Féin official who
confessed last Friday to working as a British spy for 20
years, refused police protection early last week.

Republican sources claimed that elements within British
intelligence wanted to influence a crucial report on IRA
activities to be released next month by revealing
Donaldson's double role.

If Donaldson had turned to the police, the Independent
Monitoring Commission (IMC) would have been compelled to
report that the IRA was still prepared to carry out attacks
because the Police Service of Northern Ireland believed his
life was in danger.

Political observers said this would have caused huge damage
to the peace process. Instead Donaldson chose to confess
his role to his Sinn Féin colleagues last week. The Sinn
Féin press conference last Friday was widely interpreted as
being a signal that the IRA posed no threat to Donaldson.

Donaldson's Special Branch handlers told him last Monday
that he was to be 'outed' as an informant in a Sunday
newspaper and that his life would be under threat.

The IMC's report is deemed crucial by both governments to
restoring power-sharing in the North. It is widely expected
that the report will give the IRAa "clean bill of health''.

Donaldson admitted last Friday that he has been a paid
informant for British intelligence and Special Branch for
20 years.

He said he deeply regretted the role he had played and said
that he had been recruited by British intelligence after
having "compromised'' himself in the 1980s.

As former head of administration for Sinn Féin at Stormont,
he was one of three men who faced charges of running an IRA
"spy-ring'' at the heart of the Northern power sharing
government. The so-called 'Stormontgate' arrests brought
down the Assembly in October 2002.

The cases against the three men were mysteriously dropped
two weeks ago. The British government has so far given no
explanation as to why the charges were withdrawn.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern quizzed British prime minister Tony
Blair about Donaldson's role as a British agent at
yesterday's EU summit in Brussels.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern will also be
seeking answers about the case when he meets Northern
secretary Peter Hain at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down,

An attempt by authorities in the North to obtain a court
gagging order in the Stormontgate case last year is thought
to have been an attempt to protect Donaldson's identity as
a British agent while still pursuing charges against the
three men.

The order would have allowed the prosecution to conceal
crucial evidence and Donaldson's status as an informant
from the defence and the public. The request was rejected.
If the case had been pursued, Donaldson's double life and
the role played by the intelligence services in the
Stormont investigation would have been exposed.

The DUP and the Ulster Unionists called yesterday for a
public inquiry into the affair.


How A Friend Of Republican Icon Bobby Sands Became Informer

(Barry McCaffrey, Irish News)

Denis Donaldson was famously photographed arm-in-arm with
the republican movement's greatest icon Bobby Sands.

Speaking 20 years later about his inclusion in one of the
most famous photographs in the world Donaldson said: "It
brings back memories every time I look at it, personal
memories. It reminds me of the way he was."

Recalling his friendship with Bobby Sands, Donaldson said:
"Bobby wouldn't have seen himself as a hero. Of all the
people I was in prison with he would have been the last
that I imagined would have become an icon."

After a 30-year rise to the highest ranks of the IRA,
Donaldson's status within republicanism was last night
(Friday) that of a Judas.

Born and reared in the staunchly republican Short Strand in
east Belfast Donaldson was a childhood friend of future
senior republicans such as Jim Gibney and Seanna Walsh, the
man who publicly announced the disbandment of the IRA
earlier this year.

In 1971 Donaldson was jailed for four years in Long Kesh on
explosives charges.

Donaldson and Bobby Sands met in Cage 17 in Long Kesh in
1973 and became firm friends.

Over the next three years they would spend time together in
Cages three and 11.

The photograph of the future hunger striker was taken in
Donaldson's cell in 1974 by another prisoner who had
smuggled a camera into the jail.

The photograph would later be broadcast around the world
when Sands died on hunger strike in May 1981.

After his release from prison Donaldson became a key
strategist in the development of Sinn Féin in the mid

However, he was also a senior IRA intelligence officer who
travelled extensively throughout Europe, South America and
the Middle East building up contacts with the likes of the
PLO and ETA.

In 1981 he was arrested at Orly airport in France
travelling on a false passport.

He is alleged to have told French police that he was
travelling on a false passport because he had just spent a
number of months in a training camp in the Lebanon.

By 1983 Donaldson was back as the official Sinn Féin
representative in his native Short Strand unsuccessfully
standing for council election in 1983 when he received 682
votes. It is understood it was at this period that he was
recruited as an informer.

In 1987 Donaldson and then Sinn Féin councillor Joe Austin
flew back to the Lebanon to try and secure the release of
Belfast hostage Brian Keenan.

The two republicans held talks with the Amal and Hezbollah
groups but failed to secure Keenan's freedom.

In the early 1990s Donaldson claimed that he had approached
by MI5 to become an agent while on a foreign holiday.

In 2003 when Donaldson was charged with involvement in the
Stormontgate affair Brian Keenan sent a letter of reference
to the court stating: "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."

Another character reference, Clonard Monastery's Fr Gerry
Reynolds, said he believed Donaldson was a "republican
through and through" but was committed to the peace

However, it is believed that it was in the early 1990s in
the run up to the IRA ceasefire that Donaldson was of most
benefit to MI5 in its efforts to spy on the Sinn Féin

At that point Donaldson had been given the key task of
running Sinn Féin offices in Washington.

The American government had granted him a special visa to
enter the US despite his previous conviction.

It was Donaldson's job to co-ordinate the first visits of
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to the US.

It was while in America that Donaldson met American chef
Larry Zaitschek, the man police would later allege was
involved in the 2002 raid on Special Branch offices at

When Donaldson's home was raided in 2003 detectives found
photographs of the two men and an invitation to Zaitschek's

Donaldson was a key Sinn Féin aid during the talks that led
to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

When Sinn Féin was elected to the assembly in September
1998 Donaldson was appointed as Sinn Féin's head of
administration. It was a key position where Donaldson would
be privy to the inner working of Sinn Féin.

However he is also understood to have still been a senior
member of the IRA's intelligence gathering unit.

It would later emerge that just weeks before his arrest
Donaldson had become the first Sinn Féin official to be
granted permission by the PSNI to carry a gun for his own

The move was seen as highly unusual as republicans had been
consistently been blocked from carrying personal protection

It is understood republicans began to suspect a high level
informer within its ranks after details of the police
investigation 'Torsion' into IRA activities revealed that
documents had been removed from Donaldson's house,
photocopied and then returned.

Less than 24 hours after the case against him and two
others collapsed last week Donaldson returned to Stormont
alongside Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to deny that he
had been an IRA spy.

It was last night even more unclear who Donaldson's
ultimate spymasters were.

December 18, 2005

This article appeared first in the December 17, 2005
edition of the Irish News.


20 Years Of Treachery

Henry McDonald reports on the fallout from a tumultuous
week when one British secret agent was exposed and a
frantic hunt began to find more spies in Sinn Fein

Sunday December 18, 2005
The Observer

At the side of Sinn Fein's Belfast headquarters is a mural
the size of an average terraced house, depicting the
smiling face of Bobby Sands, the first IRA hunger striker
to die in 1981.

The image is based on a photograph from inside Long Kesh in
1974 taken by a fellow prisoner who had smuggled a camera
into the jail. The original picture also includes one Denis
Donaldson, a fellow IRA prisoner who had become a close
friend of Sands the year before.

For 36 long hours last week Donaldson, 55, faced his
friends and comrades inside the very same building. He must
have thought about Sands as he confessed to 20 years of
treachery, for working for the British security forces
inside the republican movement, an admission that not long
ago was the equivalent to signing your own death warrant.

Donaldson would have known that, once his confession was
complete, he would stand accused within the republican
faithful of betraying everything Bobby Sands stood for and
died for. Some of those who, like Donaldson, had given
life-long service to the republican movement were bitter
about the 'verdict' of the midweek interrogation. 'During
the war he would have gone down a hole [republican-speak
for execution and secret burial]', one East Tyrone IRA
veteran told The Observer this weekend. 'There are men in
their graves for far less treachery than him.'

The events that exposed that 'treachery' would not have
been out of place in a John le Carré novel. They involve
allegations of spy rings, break-ins at police headquarters,
double agents and moles at the heart of government.

The exposure of Denis Donaldson began on 8 December in an
extraordinary decision by Northern Ireland's Director of
Public Prosecutions. Donaldson, along with his son-in-law
Ciaran Kearney and civil servant William Mackessy, had been
facing charges for running a republican spy ring, the
exposure of which in October 2002 led to the collapse of
the powersharing government in Belfast.

During the investigation the Police Service of Northern
Ireland discovered thousands of documents, including the
personal details of police officers, prison officers, civil
servants and even rival politicians. As a result, around
1,200 people were moved from their homes, at an estimated
cost to the taxpayer of £30 million.

Yet after two and a half years the DPP suddenly announced
that it was dropping all the charges against the trio on
the grounds of 'public interest'. Immediately a political
storm blew up at Westminster with the unionist parties and
the SDLP demanding that the British government reveal
exactly what the DPP meant by 'public interest'. There were
murmurings about the need to protect a high-placed
informant. Speculation reached fever pitch by the start of
last week, with MPs demanding answers from both the Prime
Minister and the Secretary of State, Peter Hain, in the
House of Commons.

With the fear that Donaldson's name was about to leak out
to the press and that by the weekend he would stand accused
as the man the DPP had sought to protect, PSNI officers
visited Donaldson's West Belfast home to inform him that he
was about to be unmasked as a long-term British agent. By
late last Wednesday, Donaldson had made a statement to his
solicitor and then faced a long night and day of
questioning by comrades. As far as The Observer can
establish, there was no use of physical violence to extract
a 'confession' from the republican veteran.

By mid-afternoon on Friday, rumours were flying that a top-
level informer within the ranks of Sinn Fein was about to
be exposed. And at 4pm in Dublin a rather crestfallen Gerry
Adams emerged alongside Gerry Kelly, former IRA bomber and
Sinn Fein's justice spokesman, to confirm the existence of
a British spy at the heart of the party's machine in

During a tense and nervous press conference, Adams made
some extraordinary claims about the man he is normally seen
beside on these occasions - Denis Donaldson. '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 [ruling body]. But, yes,
he was a long-standing member,' Adams said.

In fact, Denis Donaldson was more than just a 'long-
standing member'. In the mid to late Eighties he held an
important position as director of Sinn Fein's international

More crucially, Donaldson was part of a so-called 'kitchen
cabinet' of advisers within Sinn Fein and the IRA who
supported and nurtured Gerry Adams's peace strategy.

'To say Denis was just a "long-standing member of the
party" is simply untrue. He was not only Adams's chief-of-
staff at Stormont, he was one of his closest aides and
allies. He probably knew what colour of toilet paper Gerry
wiped his bum with,' one former IRA prisoner said

In the 36 hours or so that Donaldson was in the company of
his old comrades, the republican leadership had the time to
turn the tables on the British and attempt a propaganda
coup. At the press conference on Friday evening Adams said
Donaldson's role as an agent proved that there was a spy
ring, but one run by and concocted by the British. Martin
McGuinness repeated that claim yesterday.

'It was a British spy ring controlled by securocrats, by
people within the establishment who are hostile to the
peace process,' McGuinness said.

Donaldson's 20-year career as a high-placed informant
certainly raises questions about the strategy of the
security forces regarding the IRA.

The road to what became known as 'Stormontgate' in October
2002 began seven months earlier, on St Patrick's Day, when
the IRA pulled off what seemed like an audacious
intelligence coup against the police. An IRA unit broke
into the normally highly secure Castlereagh PSNI station
and stole files belonging to Special Branch. The files of
the anti-terrorist agency included the names and addresses
not only of officers but also codenames of informants.

Some PSNI officers, however, suspected there was more to
the Castlereagh break-in than just a major security
blunder. Suspicion quickly fell on an American civilian who
had worked as a chef at the heavily fortified police base.
Larry Zaitschek (who is still in the United States but
faces arrest if he returns to Northern Ireland) was later
alleged to have been involved in the break-in. The PSNI
claimed Zaitschek provided the IRA with the plans of the

As the investigation into Castlereagh led to the raid on
Stormont in October 2002, it emerged that Donaldson and
Zaitschek were close acquaintances. Security sources this
weekend said it was Donaldson's idea to bring Zaitschek to
Northern Ireland, set him up with a house in East Belfast
and burrow his way into Special Branch headquarters. 'The
big question we are asking ourselves today is whether Denis
did this on behalf of another wing of the intelligence
services. Was the idea to open up the door to Castlereagh
so the Provos would get caught in a trap?' one senior
police officer said.

Zaitschek strenuously denies any involvement in the

Donaldson belonged to a six-man IRA intelligence unit
attached to the Provisionals' general headquarters staff.
According to another former agent, Donaldson was in the
invaluable position, from a British viewpoint, of being a
confidant to the most important member of that team -
Seanna 'Sid' Walsh.

Sid Walsh came to prominence earlier this year when he
became the public face of the IRA. In July, Walsh was the
figure chosen to read out the IRA's statement that it was
decommissioning its weapons of war.

Sean O'Callaghan, the ex-IRA southern commander and a spy
inside the Provos for the Gardai, said Donaldson's
friendship with Walsh would have given the British
invaluable insight into republican thinking.

'Seanna is, after Adams, the most important strategist of
them all. Denis and Sid were great pals; they even went on
holiday together. So it would have been a real gain for the
Brits if they could get Denis to in turn get Sid talking.
It was a way into the thinking of one of the most
intelligent and important IRA members in Ireland,' he said.

On the ground in West Belfast and in Donaldson's native
Short Strand, the East Belfast Catholic enclave where he
grew up, there is despair that one of their most trusted
comrades had been working for the 'enemy'. And although
Sinn Fein has tried to make political capital out of the
crisis, by blaming the entire Stormontgate on the
perfidious British, they have been unable to dispel the
widespread suspicion this weekend that there are more
highly placed informants operating within Sinn Fein and the
IRA. One republican source said at least one Sinn Fein
worker with a track record in the IRA is now under
suspicion as the informant who first tipped off the PSNI
about the extent of the spying at Stormont.

Another senior police officer went as far as to say 'that
at Castlereagh one of the branches of the security services
had dangled the bait to the IRA, and the Provos bit at it.
They thought they were getting the crown jewels, but it led
Special Branch to a major spying operation at Stormont'.

Asked if there were more informants in danger of being
unmasked, he replied: 'The leadership must be looking
around and wondering who the hell they can trust. But one
thing is for sure - Denis Donaldson did not tip off anyone
about Stormontgate. He was definitely not the source, of
that I am certain.'

Despite Donaldson's apology to his former comrades, Martin
McGuinness sounded in an unforgiving mood last night.

'There has always been in conflict situations around the
world people who betray their comrades and colleagues and
betray the very organisation they publicly claim to be
supportive of,' the Mid Ulster MP and former IRA chief-of-
staff said.

In the past the 'betray' word would have spelt certain doom
for those accused of treachery. Denis Donaldson would not
have been 'confessing' inside Sinn Fein headquarters but
rather some squalid barn or a rural outhouse in South
Armagh, in front of far less sympathetic 'comrades' from
the IRA's 'nutting squad'. He can only thank the peace
process that he helped piece together, not only for Sinn
Fein but also it seems for his British paymasters, that he
hasn't suffered the fate of other far less fortunate IRA

Secrets and spies: the Stormont links

17 March 2002 The IRA stages an audacious raid on Special
Branch HQ at Castlereagh police station, east Belfast.

4 October 2002 An investigation into the Castlereagh raid
unravels a spy ring at Stormont involving senior

6 October 2002 Denis Donaldson's west Belfast home is
raided and he is charged with holding information on police
officers and British soldiers.

14 October 2002 Powersharing executive at Stormont
collapses after David Trimble pulls out in protest at
alleged IRA spying.

8 December 2005 The Northern Ireland Director of Public
Prosecutions drops charges against Donaldson and two other
men. He does so 'in the public interest'.

16 December 2005 Donaldson expelled from Sinn Fein.


Timeline... The Unmasking Of Donaldson As A Spy...

18 December 2005

3.12pm PA news wires report that Sinn Fein's head of
administration at Stormont, Denis Donaldson, was expelled
by his party last night (Thursday).

3.30pm Gerry Adams releases a statement alleging that
Donaldson was working as a British agent.

4pm Sinn Fein hold a Press conference in the Joyce Room in
the Gresham Hotel, on O'Connell Street, Dublin.

Gerry Adams told reporters that Donaldson had admitted he
had been a British agent for 20 years.

6.30pm Taoiseach Bertie Ahern describes the allegations
against the senior Sinn Fein figure as bizarre.

9pm In a statement to RTE News, Mr Donaldson confirmed that
he has spied for British intelligence since the 1980s and
he described the Stormont spying allegations as a sham.

Mr Donaldson said he deeply regretted his activities with
British Intelligence and RUC/PSNI Special Branch and he
apologised to anyone who has suffered as a result of his


It All Leads Somewhere... But Not To An Assembly

(Brian Feeney, Irish News)

Well, now we know. There was at least one spying operation
at Stormont, but it was a British one. Unfortunately that's
the only fact we do know. As the British proconsul and his
administration twist and turn to try to find a plausible
explanation for the fiasco into which MI5 and the police
sucked the courts, the prosecution service and the future
of political institutions here, the playwright Harold
Pinter's words in his Nobel prize acceptance speech last
week are relevant.

"The majority of politicians, on the evidence available to
us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the
maintenance of power. To maintain that power it is
essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live
in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own
lives. What surrounds us, therefore, is a vast tapestry of
lies, upon which we feed."

What else can we deduce from the tapestry of lies?

First, if Denis Donaldson was a British agent, then the
case that brought down Stormont was always going to
collapse. He was hardly going to go to jail to oblige his
handlers, happy as they might have been to sacrifice him.

Secondly, the PSNI stunt at Stormont was just that. The
police had already made arrests that morning and seized the
documents they were to present as evidence.

We now know the police knew there was no incriminating
material in the Sinn Féin office they raided. That's why
they only lifted two disks off a desk-top and came out
again. They didn't search the office. Besides, there were
several Sinn Féin offices at Stormont. They only raided
Denis Donaldson's.

Yesterday's (Friday) new information raises many more
questions than answers.

Did the PSNI and MI5 use Donaldson as an agent provocateur
and, if so, to what extent?

Did they use him to feed certain files to Sinn Féin? Did
they plant certain inaccurate material for him to pass on?

To what extent were they trying to steer Sinn Féin's
political agenda, its reaction to certain political
developments, by passing selected information?

We don't know. Nor does Sinn Féin. They have no means of
knowing what Donaldson told them was accurate or truthful.
Neither would he.

No wonder Gerry Adams is raging. It's a huge embarrassment
for republicans.

Naturally they will try to minimise Donaldson's role in the
movement. They point out he was not on the ard chomhairle,
not on their negotiating team and so on.

However, it's impossible to get round the awkward fact that
he was their head of administration at Stormont and would
have seen documentation of a very sensitive nature passing
across his desk.

There's not much the British would not have known about
Sinn Féin's plans. It's OK for the British to spy on Sinn
Féin but not for Sinn Féin to spy on the British.

Another difficult question for Sinn Féin. How many more
traitors in their midst? How were the police sure enough
that Donaldson was going to be exposed to tell him earlier
this week? Have they someone in, or senior to, the
republican investigating team?

More serious questions. Did the proconsul for the time
being, John Reid, know MI5 were running a spying operation
against Sinn Féin? Did the director of intelligence and
security at the NIO? If so, did he tell Reid? If not, why

If Reid knew, why did he let the police bring down the
powersharing executive when there was never any chance of
bringing a successful prosecution?

If he didn't know, then the security services are running
the north and deciding the fate of its political

One other item you can be pretty sure of is that Tony Blair
didn't know. Otherwise, why would he have knocked his
brains out trying to cobble an executive together and keep
the glue sticking if he was aware his security services
were going to wreck all his work? Why didn't he know?

Finally, do you think Hugh Orde would have kept our present
proconsul informed and if not, why not? All of which makes
the Policing Board look like an expensive charade.

What does it do for the odds on an executive in 2006? Who
does that suit? Not nationalists.

December 18, 2005

This article appeared first in the December 17, 2005
edition of the Irish News.


Donaldson 'Was Not The Only Spy In Sinn Fein'

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday December 18, 2005
The Observer

The spy scandal that has rocked Sinn Fein took another
bizarre twist last night over allegations that there is yet
another informer working for the British inside the
republican movement.

And unionists warned last night that the British
government's refusal to hold a public inquiry into the
Denis Donaldson affair would damage prospects for talks in
the new year aimed at restoring devolution in the north.

Republican and security sources both claimed that
Donaldson, the head of Sinn Fein's administration at
Stormont, was not alone in spying for Britain.

One republican source said at least one Sinn Fein worker
with a track record in the IRA is now under suspicion as
the informant who tipped off the PSNI about the extent of
the spying operation at Stormont.

Asked if there were more informants in danger of being
unmasked, a senior security source in Northern Ireland
said: 'The leadership must be looking around and wondering
who the hell they can trust. But one thing is for sure -
Denis Donaldson did not tip off anyone about Stormontgate.
He was definitely not the source, of that I am certain.'

It emerged last night that Sinn Fein officials refused to
allow the media to ask Donaldson any questions about
whether he was being held against his will. The 55-year-old
former director of International Affairs for the party had
been driven to Dublin by party officials from Belfast on

Donaldson made a public confession in front of an RTE
camera and the news station's chief reporter Charlie Bird.
No other media organisations were invited to his press
conference on Friday.

The British government yesterday refused to comment on the
affair but said it was unlikely there would be a public

Last night Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein's chief negotiator
and former IRA chief o staff, accused Donaldson of
betrayal. 'There has always been in conflict situations
around the world people who betray their comrades and
colleagues and the very organisation they publicly claim to
be supportive of,' the Mid Ulster MP said.

In the recent past these words would have been enough to
sign a death warrant. But given Sinn Fein and the IRA's
commitment to non-violent methods and the decommissioning
of arms earlier this summer, it is no longer politically
possible to impose the ultimate sanction on this latest

McGuinness added that Sinn Fein would be seeking a face-to-
face meeting with Tony Blair to discuss the fallout from
the affair. He alleges Donaldson's role as an agent proves
that the spy ring was a plot to destabilise the power-
sharing government by elements opposed to Sinn Fein.

However a spokesman for Downing Street last night denied
there would be any talks with Sinn Fein before Christmas.

Unionists yesterday demanded a public inquiry into the
affair, which started on 8 December when the Director of
Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland dropped charges of
spying against Donaldson, his son-in-law and a civil
servant. They had been accused of operating a spy ring for
the IRA against the police, prison officers, civil servants
and other political parties at Stormont.

The DPP said the charges were dropped because a trial was
'not in the public interest'. Both unionists and the SDLP
claimed the 'public interest' meant the protection of a
highly placed informant within Sinn Fein.

Democratic Unionist justice spokesman Ian Paisley Junior
said the scandal had seriously damaged the prospects of
restoring devolution. The initial accusations of an IRA
Stormont spy ring in 2002 shattered unionist confidence in
sharing power with Sinn Fein and brought down the
government in Belfast.

'A public inquiry is a must at this stage because millions
of pounds of public money were used to re-house people.
Hundreds of people had to move home because of the spy
ring. Now we find that a man at the centre of it was an
agent,' Paisley said.

'We have said there can only be talks in an environment of
trust. There is no trust at this present time and if the
government is refusing an inquiry then there can be no
trust and thus no talks.'

Donaldson, who was one of Gerry Adams's most trusted aides,
is believed to be in hiding in the Irish Republic.


Serving The Agenda Of Two Masters

(Anthony McIntyre, Irish News)

Denis Donaldson was a stalwart defender of the peace
process. Closer to the Sinn Féin leadership think tank than
Freddie Scappaticci aka Stakeknife – very close in fact –
Donaldson was never slow to berate those who dissented from
the leadership.

While in Maghaberry on remand as a result of Stormontgate,
both as a leading Sinn Féin activist and a long- term
British agent (the difference is sometimes blurred) a Real
IRA prisoner offered him Ed Moloney's book A Secret History
of the IRA.

Donaldson reacted as if he had been scalded, declined to
take the book, muttering that it was unhelpful to the peace
process and that it undermined the credibility of the Sinn
Féin leadership.

A number of months ago as I walked my young daughter into
her school, Donaldson looked at me with something close to

Seemingly, I too was not helpful to the peace process.

Frequently, Donaldson would seek to demonise me and vilify
my writing on the grounds that it was disloyal to the

With him as part of that leadership I shall proudly wear my
disloyalty like a badge of honour.

And part of that leadership he was.

Early in the peace process and shortly after he was sent
out to take charge of the party's New York operation, he
began to undermine anyone thinking along traditional
republican lines.

Martin Galvin became a casualty in that exercise. According
to Galvin, the orders from the Sinn Féin leadership in
Belfast were that all vestiges of the old order be purged
and replaced with others who would be acceptable to the US
political class.

Sinn Féin in New York was to be such in name only.

Operationally, under the guidance of Donaldson, it was to
function much the same as Fianna Fail.

Whether in south Down or Antrim town, the role of Donaldson
as leadership enforcer remained as it was in New York. Any
republican who asked a question about the strategic
direction of the party was removed by him and expelled from
the movement. Solid republicans such as Paddy Murray and
Martin Cunningham were ambushed by this agent of the
British state.

While Donaldson did all of this at the behest of the Sinn
Féin leadership, it is inconceivable that his 'securocrat'
handlers also did not approve of his activities.

His role was to implement the shared agenda of two masters.

The Sinn Féin leadership, shaken less by the fact that it
appears agent-penetrated and more by the revelations of how
closely its own agenda and that of the British state
overlap, has resorted to abandoning Donaldson in a manner
that Scappaticci escaped.

Gerry Adams has sought to construct the fiction that there
was no Sinn Féin spy-ring at Stormont; that the only spy-
ring there was, in fact, one operated by the British
intelligence services.

This would be all very well were it not for the fact that
the person operating the same spy-ring happens to be a
senior elected Sinn Féin politician.

Scappaticci certainly provided his British handlers with an
inordinate amount of information about the same person in a
bid to make him more susceptible to "being turned" through

Is Mr Adams telling us that this politician is the third

What a complex web we weave when first we practice to

It is too early to say that there are sufficient horsemen
within the Sinn Féin leadership to make a cavalry regiment.

But, as Oscar Wilde might have said, one tout, Mr Adams, is
misfortune, two is carelessness.

December 18, 2005

This article appeared first in the December 17, 2005
edition of the Irish News.


Adams Should Quit Over Spying Revelations, Says Rival

(Filed: 18/12/2005)

(Poster's Note: Edited For Duplication Of Reports)

Gerry Adams should quit as leader of Sinn Fein in the wake
of spying allegations which have rocked his party, a
nationalist rival has claimed.

As pressure mounted on the British Government to hold an
inquiry into the scandal which brought down Northern
Ireland's devolved government in 2002, Eddie Espie, vice
chairman of the SDLP said Mr Adams should take the heat for
the revelation that one of his aides Denis Donaldson was a
British spy.

Mr Espie said: "This project of super collusion happened
under Gerry Adams' watch.

"For 20 years, Denis Donaldson, one of Adams's closest
allies, has been feeding information to the British
intelligence services.

"Only a few days ago, Gerry Adams was happy to appear
alongside Donaldson on the steps of Stormont, presenting
him as a 'victim of securocrats' and trying to tell
everyone to move on from the Stormontgate affair.

"Now it transpires that Adams was singing the praises of an
arch-British agent.

"As party leader throughout the period of Donaldson's
double agency, Gerry Adams was party leader.

"The buck stops with him. The only option now open is for
Gerry Adams to resign."

Republicans have been reeling since it emerged on Dec 16
that Mr Donaldson, Sinn Fein's former head of
administration at Stormont, was working for British Army
and police intelligence since the mid-1980s.


Questions Arise From 'Stormontgate'

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland Political Editor

So do we know now why the Director of Public Prosecutions,
the Attorney General and the Northern Ireland secretary
were so desperate to stonewall after the collapse of the
"Stormontgate" court case?

Clearly, none of the above would have relished the
unmasking of the veteran republican Denis Donaldson as an
equally veteran British agent.

His exposure would not have been considered in the "public

There are reports that other informants may have been
involved in Stormontgate.

Either way, protecting such a highly placed agent as Denis
Donaldson would have been high on the authorities' agenda.

Both the DUP and the Ulster Unionists have called for a
public inquiry.

But is a government so reluctant to expand on the reasons
behind dropping the Stormongate charges going to concede a
public inquiry into such a sensitive area?

The Alliance Party has also joined the chorus in support of
a judicial inquiry, but their justice spokesman, Stephen
Farry, says that those politicians who have demanded that
such a probe should be held in public are demonstrating
"the height of naivety and irresponsibility".

Whether or not there is an inquiry, a mass of legitimate
questions arise.

Was Denis Donaldson an informer reporting back to the
police and British intelligence on espionage carried out
and authorised by other republicans?

Or was he - as Sinn Fein argue - acting as an agent
provocateur creating - in his words - a "sham" IRA spy

Given Denis Donaldson's long service as a British agent
what prior knowledge did the police have not just of
Stormontgate but also of the raid on Castlereagh police
station in March 2002?

It's generally been understood that in response to that
raid the police ran an operation codenamed "Torsion" which
led to the Stormontage arrests in October 2002.

But in court, the prosecution made much of Denis
Donaldson's links with Larry Zaitschek, an American suspect
whose extradition has been sought in relation to the
Castlereagh raid.

So did the agent know about Castlereagh before it happened
and what did he tell his handlers?

Then there's the £30m or more spent on relocating security
force members and prison officers whose personal details
were compromised. Were they ever really under threat?

All of these operational matters serve as a prelude to the
broader political questions. Stormontgate hastened the end
of the power sharing executive in October 2002.

David Trimble famously dubbed the affair "worse than

But if the spying allegations were bogus, was the fall of
the government manufactured by "securocrats", as
republicans suggest?

Would the authorities have gone to such lengths to topple
an executive which looked pretty doomed at that stage
anyway, albeit that the scandal switched any blame from
unionists to republicans?

Any inquiry, whether in public or in camera, would have
plenty of cud to chew on.

But it's hard to envisage any probe exposing a version of
the truth which will satisfy the participants in the
political process.

As they head into a New Year when London and Dublin were
promising to intensify their efforts to broker a deal, the
politicians can only know one thing for certain, namely
that Northern Ireland's dirty war has been succeeded by an
equally dirty peace.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/18 11:14:57 GMT


Pal Of Sands Who Sold Out Patriot Game Of The Provos

By Sinead McCavana
18 December 2005

DOUBLE-AGENT Denis Donaldson enjoyed telling friends his
grandmother always told him to "burn everything British -
except their coal".

Born in Belfast's nationalist Short Strand, Donaldson
became involved in the republican movement at a young age.

In 1972, aged just 21, he was jailed for explosive

During his time in Long Kesh, Donaldson became firm friends
with future hunger striker Bobby Sands.

The infamous photograph of him with his arm around Sands
behind bars was beamed across the globe following the
latter's death in 1981.

On his release, Donaldson became actively involved with
Sinn Fein.

He was a key strategist in the development of the party in
the mid-1980s and was part of a delegation who met Labour
Party members in 1985.

But it is believed he was also a senior IRA intelligence
officer who built up contacts with terrorist groups such as
the PLO and ETA.

He travelled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East
and South America.

In 1981, while working in Sinn Fein's foreign affairs
bureau, Donaldson was arrested at Paris airport for
travelling under a false passport.

It was reported that Donaldson and a fellow republican had
claimed they had flown in from Lebanon after spending
several months at a PLO training camp.

In 1983, Donaldson stood as the Sinn Fein candidate in the
Belfast City Council elections, representing his native
Short Strand, but only received 682 votes.

A year later, he caused outrage when he said publicly that
the IRA had the right to carry out the Brighton bombing.

"Our understanding is that if Margaret Thatcher had been
killed, there was a possibility of bringing this conflict
to a speedy end and establishing peace in Ireland," he

In 1987, Donaldson made headlines again when he flew out to
Lebanon with a party colleague in a bid to secure the
release of Belfast hostage Brian Keenan.

Although the move was unsuccessful, Mr Keenan wrote a
letter saying the leading republican had "put his life on
the line for him". Mr Keenan's letter was read out again at
the High Court in Belfast in 2002 following Donaldson's
arrest over his alleged involvement in an IRA spy ring at

In the early 1990s, ahead of the IRA ceasefires, Donaldson
was given the responsibility of running Sinn Fein's
Washington offices.

The US government granted him a special visa to enter the
country - in spite of his convictions.

Donaldson co-ordinated the first visit of Gerry Adams and
Martin McGuinness to the USA.

He was also a key aide in the peace talks leading up to the
signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

In 1998, when Sinn Fein was elected to the Assembly,
Donaldson was appointed Sinn Fein's head of administration
at Stormont.

Four years later he was arrested and charged with having
documents likely to be of use to terrorists.

His arrest - along with that of his son-in-law and a civil
servant - inevitably became known as 'Stormontgate' - a
republican spy-ring at the heart of government.

It caused the collapse of the devolved power-sharing
administration and suspension of the Assembly.

Last week, a surprise court hearing was told the Director
of Public Prosecutions was not proceeding with the case
against any of the men.

On Friday, Donaldson admitted he had been a double-agent
for the past 20 years and was expelled from Sinn Fein.


Agent's Outing Is Too Neat - Ex-Cop

FORMER RUC detective JOHNSTON BROWN, who served for several
years in nationalist west Belfast at the height of the
Troubles, says the IRA is riddled with informers. But he is
suspicious of the timing of Sinn Fein man Denis Donaldson's
'outing' as a Special Branch agent

18 December 2005

I WAS not surprised by Denis Donaldson's admission that he
was a Special Branch agent.

The republican movement, just like the loyalist terrorists
groups, has been infiltrated by Special Branch right to the
very highest levels.

Quite simply, I would be shocked if there was NOT more
important figures than Donaldson inside the republican
movement who have been working for Special Branch and other
intelligence agencies like MI5 or the Army's FRU for years.

I have been very critical of elements within Special Branch
who have protected agents who were ruthless serial killers.

But I applaud the Branch over its work against the IRA and
other republican groups.

The IRA was going nowhere by the time Martin McGuinness
communicated to John Major that their war was over but they
needn't help to stop it. Politically and financially the
IRA was on it's knees and Special Branch played a major
role in bringing them to that point.

The IRA has never been riddled with agents to the same
extent as the loyalist UVF, where one in five members is an

But the security services put more emphasis on recruiting
high level republicans because, quite simply, the IRA posed
the biggest security threat.

However, I'm suspicious about the timing of Denis Donaldson
outing as an informer so soon after the collapse of the
Stormont spy-ring case.

It is all too convenient for Sinn Fein to sacrifice
Donaldson. It gets them, the DPP, the courts and the
Government off the hook and puts the political pressure
back on the DUP.

I suspect the republican leadership may have known for
years that Donaldson had been recruited by the Branch, that
it wasn't something they suddenly discovered in Connolly
House a couple of days ago.

Donaldson may even have told his republican masters
immediately the approach was made. I would not be surprised
if Sinn Fein had been telling him what to leak to his
handlers while he continued his rise within the party,
becoming head of administration at Stormont.

He would hardly be the first double-agent. Certainly, I
think the story that has emerged in the last couple of days
is a smokescreen. It is too neat.

But no one should be surprised that another leading
republican has been exposed as having been recruited as an
agent for the security services.

In my experience loyalists and republicans become informers
for different reasons.

Cash is usually the prime motivation for loyalists.

With republicans the trigger is more often disillusionment,
although some find the cash attractive too.

What I found working in Andersontown in the 1970s and 80s
was that young men who were gung-ho terrorists later found
that it wasn't easy living with the enormity of their
actions or the actions of their organisation.

They grew up with the Catholic Church telling them that
killing was wrong and they found it hard to live with the
bloodshed and mayhem inflicted by the IRA.

• Johnston Brown is the author of Into The Dark: 30 Years
In The RUC


Opin: High-Profile Sinn Fein Man Is Garda Spy

Jim Cusack & Conor Sweeney

A PROMINENT Sinn Fein figure in the Republic, and two other
members of Gerry Adams's inner circle, are being described
as the second, third and fourth moles at the top of the IRA
who passed key intelligence to the Garda and the police in
the North.

The high-profile Sinn Fein man in the Republic is a
household name and were his identity to now emerge, it
would cause huge political repercussions within Sinn
Fein/IRA. The other two spies are from Belfast.

Early yesterday, before these latest bizarre revelations
unfolded, the Taoiseach told the Sunday Independent that he
was certain that Tony Blair was not involved in halting the
court action against the alleged Sinn Fein spy ring at
Stormont. "If he did, he'd tell me," Mr Ahern said.

The British secret services had feared that if the
Stormontgate case went to court, it would lead to the
unmasking as a British spy of Sinn Fein's Stormont
administrator, Denis Donaldson.

In the event, Sinn Fein's own investigation after the
halting of the case led to his exposure as the First Man.
Today's revelations about other spies within Sinn Fein will
cause further embarrassment for the party. The Sunday
Independent has learned that one of the party's most well-
known figures passed information to Garda Special Branch
officers, leading to the most severe blow ever inflicted on
the IRA.

In May, 1987, eight members of the IRA's East Tyrone unit
walked into an ambush while trying to blow up the police
station at Loughgall, Co Armagh. The unit was led by Jim
Lynagh, a ruthless and feared IRA operator, who was known
to be an opponent to the "unarmed strategy" which was then
being pursued by the IRA and Sinn Fein's leader Gerry

Before the raid, which ended in disaster for the IRA, it is
understood Garda Special Branch detectives came upon this
now prominent Sinn Fein figure as he was moving a JCB
digger, which was to be used by Lynagh's unit to ferry a
bomb to Loughgall.

It is believed information was passed on to the RUC about
the impending raid.

Lynagh's unit was heavily armed and it was known they would
not give up without a fight. The British Army placed a unit
of Special Air Services men into a hedgerow opposite the
station. They waited until the bomb was set off before
ambushing the IRA men and killing them all - as well as an
innocent passerby.

The Garda's senior Sinn Fein informant also passed on
information about other IRA operations in east Tyrone,
leading to the killing of several other IRA men. "The one
thing in common with all these operations was that there
was a [named Sinn Fein figure] connection," the source

The source would not say if the informant was acting purely
for self-gain, because he had been compromised, or whether
- as has been suggested by some former republicans - he was
acting in the full knowledge of the IRA's leadership which
distrusted Lynagh and his entourage.

Two other key members of Sinn Fein in the North who have
been at the centre of activities since the 1970s are also
being talked of as police informants following the "outing"
of Adams's aide Denis Donaldson, who admitted on Friday he
had been recruited as an agent for the old RUC Special
Branch over 20 years ago. The two other figures have been
close to Adams for decades and both are semi-public but not
elected members of Sinn Fein.

Donaldson's admission stunned the Provisionals' membership
on Friday and led to a bout of internal recrimination and
finger-pointing which yesterday saw the three other figures
being openly branded within republican circles.

However, it is felt that to save further embarrassment, the
other informants are likely to be allowed to remain within
the Sinn Fein Party though with no access to the leadership
or to be involved in central decision-making.

Only one of the three was jailed for IRA offences, and the
other Belfast man is said to have played a mainly political
role and to have done little of a 'military' nature.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach, said Sinn Fein still has
questions to answer about its "spy who came in from the
cold" as he scorned the sudden sequence of revelations.

Mr Ahern said he fully believed Britain's Prime Minister,
Tony Blair, knew nothing about the alleged spying
operations. He also paid tribute to the former Unionist
leader, David Trimble, whose administration was brought
down as a result of the spy ring.

Cautioning against jumping to any conclusions, Mr Ahern
said it stretched his imagination to accept some of the
facts about the issue as they have been presented in the
past few days.

He challenged Sinn Fein to explain when it uncovered that
Denis Donaldson was a double agent, pointing out the party
had carried out its own investigation at the time of the
'Stormontgate raids'.

"This guy was told by security his life was in danger, so
the next thing he does is come down to Dublin to give an
interview to RTE?" asked Mr Ahern, with a grin on his face.

He stressed Sinn Fein had carried out its own detailed
examination in 2002 and claimed to be quite happy.

"It would be a bit confusing if the fellow they were
checking out on their side was a bit dodgy," he said.

"If they investigated it so much and they didn't uncover
their key guy was a spy, they must be fairly shattered
about it too," he said. However, the mischievous tone from
Mr Ahern suggests he believes the full truth has yet to

Mr Ahern made his comments at around 4am on Saturday
morning at the end of intensive EU budget talks. He said
he'd not had time to investigate the allegations carefully,
nor had there been an opportunity to raise the issue with
Tony Blair.

"Now we're asked to believe that the person who Sinn Fein
had in there looking after administration was also in there
for British security, so he had the confidence of Sinn Fein
and British security to be in a key position that
ultimately brought down the institutions. It even stretches
my imagination at four o'clock in the morning," he said.

He said that until he had heard from all sides, he wouldn't
jump to any conclusions. The way police behaved like "storm
troopers" to raid Sinn Fein's offices in Stormont had not
added up, he said, though the consequences were huge.

"This was a huge case, it doesn't get much bigger than
bringing down democratically elected institutions that
people have voted for. What this is about I just don't
know," said Mr Ahern.

When asked if he believed Tony Blair's comments that he was
not involved in halting the court action, he replied: "Yes,
I would, because if he did, he'd tell me."

The issue will be raised tomorrow when the Foreign
Minister, Dermot Ahern holds pre-arranged talks with the
British Foreign Secretary, Peter Hain.


Opin: Second Mole In SF On Brink Of Exposure

IF LORD Blackadder had his Baldrick, Gerry Adams had his
Denis Donaldson. The obsequious, diminutive manservant
basked in the reflected glory that his master generated on
the world stage as terrorist-turned-peace maker while
having his own cunning plan. In Donaldson's case, it was
merrily passing on reams of top level intelligence to his
Special Branch handlers.

Donaldson's recruitment was one of the most important coups
ever achieved by the RUC Special Branch. Caught red-handed
while carrying out a bombing in east Belfast, Donaldson
emerged from prison as an enthusiastic and popular Sinn
Fein 'activist' and was appointed head of the party's
international affairs committee.

It is not clear how Donaldson was recruited but it was well
known he had a weakness for women and drink, the downfall
of many IRA men before and after him. As head of the
foreign department, it was his task to make contacts with
other terrorist/radical groups including left wing groups
in France and Italy, the Basque ETA, the Palestinian
Liberation Organisation and Hezbollah - the Islamic 'Party
of God' - in Lebanon and Farc in Central America.

Donaldson arranged Gerry Adams' initial visit to the United
States after the first ceasefire in 1994. While in New York
he met and recruited Larry Zaitschek who later travelled to
Belfast and managed to get himself a catering job in the
east Belfast headquarters of the Special Branch. Zaitschek
disappeared after the IRA broke into the HQ on St Patrick's
Day 2002.

By this time, responsibility for handling Donaldson and the
other agents operated by the old RUC Special Branch had
been passed to the British Secret Intelligence Service,
MI5, as part of the policing 'reforms' that accompanied the
1998 Good Friday Agreement.

As part of the deal, Adams was granted the demand that the
old RUC Special Branch be abolished. It was, but the IRA
people who had been recruited by the old Branch were passed
on to MI5 and their wages, it is reported, increased.

MI5 was, it seems, prepared to allow the IRA to break into
the headquarters of their supposed police colleagues in
order to protect the identity of one of their most valuable
agents inside the IRA. The newly-named PSNI, however, was
not prepared to countenance what was an obvious threat to
the safety of their officers. The identities of thousands
of police and prison officers were stolen in the IRA raid
on Castlereagh and during the operation of its spy ring at
Stormont. More than 1,200 officers had to move house
because their security had been breached.

The arrest of Donaldson, the raid on his office at Stormont
and the subsequent collapse of the power-sharing Executive
was a price the PSNI made their political masters pay for
the threat to their families and colleagues. The old RUC
Special Branch was being put out to pasture but it was not
dead. In the round-up after Donaldson's arrest, the PSNI
scooped thousands of documents pilfered from Stormont and
Castlereagh. They went further and cut into the heart of
the IRA's operations, seizing their personnel files. It was
the final blow to the IRA.

Donaldson would have been instructed by his handlers in MI5
to remain in position within Sinn Fein and not panic after
his arrest and charging following the Stormontgate raid.
Through other moles within Sinn Fein and the IRA, his MI5
handlers and the PSNI's Special Branch would have been able
to advise him if suspicion was being directed at him.

It was only when the 'Special Counsel' appointed by the
British Attorney General recommended the disclosure of
certain 'sensitive' documents to Donaldson and his co-
accused's defence teams and the prosecution baulked at this
that Donaldson's hitherto assured position within Sinn Fein
began to be called into question.

Both the IRA and Sinn Fein concluded, as did many others,
that the reason the prosecution declined to proceed with
the case was because the surrendering of the documents
would have compromised an informant within either Sinn Fein
or the IRA.

On Tuesday of last week it is understood that Donaldson was
advised by the PSNI Special Branch that suspicion within
the IRA had now come to rest at his door and that his
safety could be in jeopardy.

The very advising of Donaldson of this development was also
fraught with risk because it had the potential to disclose
to the IRA that a second mole was operating within the
highest echelon of Sinn Fein and had divulged the progress
of the internal IRA investigation.

Donaldson's decision to say publicly that he had been
warned by the police means that mole number two could be on
the brink of being unmasked.

The RUC Special Branch had won the war but was never
rewarded. While Adams, McGuinness et al were being lauded
as some kind of great leaders of peace, the Branch men were
facing vilification in the media and even the possibility
of being arrested for alleged 'collusion', a term that now
has a new dimension in the North following Donaldson's
exposure. Many moved to Spain, a country which does not
extradite citizens to Britain, for fear of being charged
with 'collusion'.

The RUC Special Branch was the product of a number of
extraordinary figures. It came into its full flight under
the then Chief Constable, Jack Hermon, now in declining
health. His choice of successor was the man regarded as one
of the cleverest and most resourceful of all Branch men,
Ronnie Flanagan.

Under Flanagan's direction, the Branch infiltrated the IRA
at every level. The head of internal security in the IRA -
the man who grabbed, interrogated and then shot suspected
'touts' - was himself working for Flanagan's men.

Martin McGuinness's second-in-command in Derry was
recruited and succeeded in bringing the IRA to a point of
non-function in the North West.

The head of IRA operations in Belfast was recruited and, by
the early 1990s, almost every bomb attack in the city was
being thwarted. The only area which Flanagan's men could
not penetrate was the Monaghan/Tyrone area which, under the
leadership of a former Chief of Staff, kept rigid security
but which was finally penetrated by a high-level garda

Even, at the end of the Troubles, the South Armagh IRA
command was penetrated and after it returned to 'war' in
1996-97, the IRA's Border sniper team were all rounded up.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan travelled to Dublin regularly to meet
Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne. During his time, the RUC and
Garda Special Branches developed their closest and most
productive links.

Flanagan's legacy was that the IRA eventually fell into
dysfunction, turning into a mainly criminal organisation.
For those who followed his career, it came as no surprise
to hear that he had been appointed by the British
Government last month to go to work in Iraq to place the
new nation's police force on a sound footing. The
insurgents in Falujah and Baghdad should pay heed.

Jim Cusack


Opin: Questions Remain About Murky Affair

Is it a case of the biter being bitten? Have Gerry Adams
and Martin McGuinness been exposed again as telling
untruths when faced by embarrassing events? Three years
ago, when the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
raided Sinn Féin offices at Stormont and arrested three of
its members for spying, they claimed the charges were
baseless and the raids were designed to bring down the
Assembly and Executive and to damage Sinn Féin.

And when the Public Prosecution Service announced last week
at Belfast Crown Court that it was dropping all charges
against the men "in the public interest" they claimed
vindication. Mr McGuinness insisted there had been no
evidence to sustain the charges and described the arrests
as "a damning indictment of the PSNI". Mr Adams made
similar complaints.

The reason the criminal charges were dropped, it transpired
yesterday, was because one of the accused, Denis Donaldson,
Sinn Féin's head of administration at Stormont, had been
working as a British agent for about 20 years. Employing
such people is part of any intelligence-gathering
operation. And, at the time he is said to have been
recruited, the IRA was engaged in a bloody campaign of
murder and mayhem. However if the cases had gone ahead, his
role might have been exposed.

The key question now is the nature of that role: agent or
double agent or something else? And the answer goes to the
heart of Mr Adams's and Mr McGuinness's veracity over the
so-called Stormontgate affair. Last night, Mr Donaldson
admitted working with British intelligence but denied any
involvement in a Sinn Féin spy ring at Stormont which he
dismissed as a Special Branch scam. It is worth recalling,
however, that the PSNI's action in raiding Sinn Féin's
office in 2002 and in arresting Mr Donaldson, along with
Ciarán Kearney and William Mackessy on charges of
collecting information and possessing documents of use to
terrorists, has been validated by the Police Ombudsman,
Nuala O'Loan. She ruled last year, following a formal
complaint made by Sinn Féin, that the raid was not only
justified but was necessary to protect democracy. Last
night, the PSNI denied any political motivation and
repeated it had broken up an intelligence gathering
operation of use to terrorists.

Sinn Féin is now playing the role of victim by claiming it
has been subjected to a police conspiracy. A similar
response was forthcoming in the aftermath of the Northern
Bank robbery last Christmas, and following the murder of
Det Garda Jerry McCabe.

These events took place before the IRA ended its campaign
and decommissioned its weapons. Had it been otherwise, it
is unlikely that Mr Donaldson would still be alive. That is
a positive change. Of course many questions remain about
this murky affair and experience suggests the truth may
never emerge. The Taoiseach has said he would like to hear
both sides before making up his mind. That is wise. But
these events must not delay the re-establishment of the
Northern institutions.

© The Irish Times


Sunday Life Opin: Public Is Casualty Of 'Dirty Tricks'

18 December 2005

NOT FOR nothing was Northern Ireland's 35 years of mayhem
and misery known as the so-called "Dirty War."

And, of course, there is nothing new in the disclosure that
spies and informers have been used at various stages by all
parties to the conflict.

But the circumstances surrounding the unmasking of Sinn
Fein's former head of Assembly administration, Denis
Donaldson as a British Agent are remarkable even by our

Donaldson's activities will undoubtedly cause embarrassment
and unease in Republican circles, but the real casualties
are the long suffering Ulster public.

Taxpayers have seen tens of millions of pounds expended to
underpin an "administration in absentia."

While public money has been poured in to shore up the
Assembly edifice, the real decisions affecting peoples'
lives have been taken by Direct Rule ministers,
unaccountable to the local electorate.

Is it any wonder that confidence in the political process
here has plummeted?

The events of the last 48 hours have so poisoned the
political atmosphere that people could be forgiven for
doubting that an effective antidote can actually be found.

However, it is worth recapping on how we got ourselves into
this mess.

The then Secretary of State John Reid suspended the
Assembly in October, 2002, shortly after a police raid on
the Sinn Fein offices at Stormont.

Donaldson was one of three men subsequently charged with
spying for Sinn Fein, charges that were dropped 10 days ago
when the prosecution service said it would not be in the
public interest to proceed.

Just what that "public interest" was remained a mystery
until Friday's dramatic expulsion of Donaldson from Sinn
Fein for "spying for the British."

In a statement in Dublin, Donaldson claimed allegations of
a spy ring were a myth, created by the Special Branch.

But the fact is that a huge quantity of documents were
seized containing personal details on hundreds of civil
servants and security personnel.

Just who was spying for who and who was calling the shots
are now mired up in confusion.

Unionists are understandably calling for a public inquiry
into the whole affair.

The Government's position of simply stating that the
prosecution service is independent of political
interference and decides cases on merit must be elaborated
upon if any semblance of trust is to be restored.

There are so many critical unanswered questions. Who, for
example, gave the green light for the raid on Stormont
which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Executive
and the unmasking of an agent?

In spite of the local political paralysis, Northern Ireland
has come a long way in the last few years and progress is
being made.

Unemployment is at an all time low and visitors are now
returning to our shores in greater numbers than ever

It will be unforgivable if all this good work is thrown

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