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April 05, 2006

MPs Back Dismissal of McBride Murdering Soldiers

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SM 04/05/06 MPs Back Dismissal Of Soldiers
BB 04/05/06 Agent's Death 'Won't Stall Peace'
BN 04/05/06 Peace Talks Fears After Donaldson's Murder
CC 04/05/06 Former Sinn Fein Member And Unmasked Spy Killed In Ireland
BB 04/05/06 Agent's Death May Hurt Peace Process
BN 04/05/06 Ahern: Gardaí Warned Donaldson Of Threat
SF 04/04/06 Gerry Adams Condemns Denis Donaldson Murder
BN 04/04/06 Donaldson Killers Have A ‘Different Agenda’- Ó Caoláin
IT 04/05/06 Killing Places 'Dark Cloud' Over NI Talks - Paisley
IT 04/05/06 Denis Donaldson: Profile Of A Spy
CB 04/05/06 Denis Donaldson - The Background
BB 04/05/06 The Murky World Of Informers
IT 04/05/06 Last Hours Of A Man Shrouded In Mystery
EX 04/05/06 Donaldson Survivor Of The Year Award A Black Twist
BN 04/05/06 Dermot Ahern May Fly To US For Immigration Debate
SF 04/05/06 Aer Lingus Sell Off Is Bad News For Company & Country
BN 04/05/06 Paisley Refuses To Rule Out 'Miracle' Return To Assembly
BT 04/05/06 DUP Peerages To Set Tone For Talks
BN 04/05/06 Envoy Vows To Raise UVF Murder In Washington
SF 04/05/06 Kelly - Making Poverty A Sectarian Issue Serious Mistake
IT 04/05/06 Maze Escaper To Face Trial On Kidnap Charges
IT 04/05/06 Court Upholds IRA Membership Conviction
IT 04/05/06 Ex-IRA Man Gets 6 Years For Bomb Attack In Germany
BB 04/05/06 Amnesty Seeks NI Rendition Probe
IM 04/05/06 Extraordinary Rendition, Torture And Amnesty
IM 04/05/06 International Day Of Remembrance For Hungerstrikers
BT 04/05/06 Opin: A Serious Blow To Political Progress Prospects
TO 04/05/06 Opin: He Played Double Life Brilliantly
IT 04/05/06 Opin: Mercilessness & Brutality At The Heart Of Conflict
BT 04/05/06 Opin: How An IRA Man Turned British Spy Met His Brutal End
MN 04/05/06 Opin: The Shark-Infested Euro Con
SF 04/05/06 Dublin Calendar Of Events - Easter 1916-2006
IT 04/05/06 Book Studies Ireland's Soaring Suicide Rates
IT 04/05/06 Death Of Maritime Historian de Courcy Ireland
IT 04/05/06 Bus Safety Rules May Be Extended After Boy's Death


MPs Back Dismissal Of Soldiers

Wednesday, 5th April 2006
Latest News
Thu 2 Mar 2006

More than 50 British MPs are backing moves to have the two
soldiers convicted of murdering Belfast teenager Peter
McBride 13 years ago thrown out of the army.

Members of a range of parties at Westminster have signed an
SDLP Early Day Motion pushing for a change in the
regulations which allow the soldiers who shot him to return
to the army after serving just three years in jail.

The news came after it was disclosed that Prime Minister
Tony Blair has refused to meet the mother of the murdered
teenager, Jean McBride. She has been campaigning to have
the Scottish soldiers expelled from the army.

SDLP Justice spokesman, North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness,
accused Mr Blair of having "slapped the family of Peter
McBride in the face" after refusing to meet them.

He said: "It is a disgraceful situation that the Prime
Minister could not afford some time to meet with them in
order to discuss their very legitimate grievances."

It was all the more insulting as Mr Blair could easily
remedy what Mr Maginness called the miscarriage of justice.

Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher were sentenced to
life for murdering Peter McBride in 1995.

However they were released from prison three years later
and allowed to rejoin their regiment. At their trial they
said they opened fire because they wrongly thought McBride
was carrying a bomb.

Mr Maginness said the Early Day Motion was demanding that
those convicted of murder, rape, torture and other serious
crimes were expelled from the army.

The MLA also said that, as the next step in their campaign,
the party would be proposing amendments to the Armed Forces
Bill currently going through Westminster, to make the
principles behind their campaign requirements of law.

© Copyright Press Association Ltd 2006, All Rights

Last updated: 03-Mar-06 14:44 BST


Agent's Death 'Won't Stall Peace'

The British and Irish prime ministers have insisted they
will not let the murder of a former Sinn Fein man derail
the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern were speaking after Denis
Donaldson, a former British agent, was found shot dead in
the Irish Republic.

Few details of the killing have been released, but it is
known that he had been shot in the head and in the arm.

The IRA said it had "no involvement whatsoever" in the

Mr Donaldson, 56, was found dead at his remote home, near
the village of Glenties in County Donegal, at about 1700
BST on Tuesday.

It is understood that Irish police found two shotgun
cartridges close to his body.

He had been expelled from Sinn Fein in 2005 after admitting
he was a paid British spy.

Irish police have begun detailed searches of the area. They
are expected to release further information about the
murder later on Wednesday.

Members of the Garda Technical Bureau are due to arrive at
the scene later on Wednesday, whilst a special incident
room has been set up in the local station, from where the
investigation is being co-ordinated.

The republic's state pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, is in
Glenties and is expected to carry out a preliminary
examination in the cottage where Mr Donaldson was found.

His death came two days before a planned visit to Northern
Ireland by Mr Blair and Mr Ahern to unveil their blueprint
for reviving the assembly at Stormont.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said the two prime
ministers would still press ahead with their plans on
Thursday, as the murder could not be used "as an excuse to
be deflected from that process".

"If we were to allow the peace process to be derailed we'd
be giving into violence, in this case a grisly, gruesome
murder, perhaps deliberately calculated to throw a spanner
in the works and make the political process difficult," he

"We're not going to allow that to happen."


4 October 2002: Three men including Mr Donaldson arrested
following raid on Sinn Fein's Stormont office. Power-
sharing executive collapses and government restores direct
rule to NI a week later

8 December 2005: Charges against three men dropped "in the
public interest"

16 December 2005: Sinn Fein says Mr Donaldson was a
"British agent" and expels him from the party: he later
says he worked as a spy since the 1980s

Government and police reject the party's claim raid was
politically motivated

4 April 2006: Donaldson found shot dead in County Donegal

An Irish government official said police were making "every
effort" to find the killers.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said he wanted to
"disassociate (his party) and all republicans who support
the peace process from this killing".

A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Blair "strongly
condemned" the killing and had noted Mr Adams' statement of

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern described the death as a
"brutal murder".

Mr Donaldson moved out of his Belfast home last December,
and had been living in the run-down cottage which had
neither electricity nor running water.

Hugh Jordan, chief reporter of the Sunday World newspaper,
interviewed Mr Donaldson last month, after tracking him

He said that when he spoke to him he had "the sort of look
of a hunted animal, but after a while he settled down".

"I did ask him about his future and ask him what the future
held for him now and he said 'this is it' and I said
'Donegal?' and he said 'yes'.

"I asked him would he ever go back to Belfast and he said
'I don't know'.

"But he did not appear to be a man who was overly worried
about his safety or security at that stage."

Mr Donaldson had been Sinn Fein's head of administration at
Stormont before his 2002 arrest over alleged spying led to
its collapse.

Mr Donaldson and two others were acquitted of charges last
December "in the public interest".

One week later he admitted being recruited in the 1980s as
a paid British agent.

He said there had not been a republican spy ring at

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/05 09:25:39 GMT


Peace Talks Fears After Donaldson's Murder

05/04/2006 - 09:07:44

The gardaí faced heightening demands today to find the
killers of British spy Denis Donaldson amid fears that the
new Northern Ireland peace initiative could be doomed.

With the announcement of fresh proposals to be made in
Armagh tomorrow aimed at restoring the suspended Stormont
Assembly, London and Dublin believe there is virtually no
chance of getting a deal unless the top Sinn Féin official-
turned- informer’s murderers are brought to justice.

Even though the IRA has denied any involvement,
disillusioned members of that organisation who either held
a grudge against Mr Donaldson or who want to wreck the
fresh political strategy remain among the chief suspects.

The victim, who once ran Sinn Féin’s offices at Stormont
but who was unmasked last December as an MI5 and police
Special Branch agent of 20 years’ standing, was killed at
his primitive County Donegal hideaway.

The road outside Glenties which leads up to the run-down
cottage remained sealed off by gardaí today.

Mr Donaldson was shot once in the face and in the arm,
apparently as he tried to shield himself from the

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and British Prime Minister,
Tony Blair, are still going ahead with their initiative,
despite the murder.

Although many are blaming the attack on Mr Donaldson’s
legion of enemies within the republican movement, Sinn Féin
MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy did not rule out the
involvement of British intelligence with whom Mr Donaldson
worked for two decades.

He said: “There are many people who had motives to murder
Denis Donaldson, people in the past who have used and
abused him to try and create trouble for the peace process
and bring down the democratic institutions and try and
frustrate attempts to create political change.”

New details on the killing are likely to emerge after
gardaí hold a special briefing session in Glenties this

As bright sunshine bathed the remote Donegal hills where Mr
Donaldson’s cottage, without either electricity or running
water, is located amid forestry, State Pathologist Dr Marie
Cassidy is also expected to carry out an examination of the

The murder shocked locals, who were unaware that Mr
Donaldson had been living in their midst until it was
revealed by a Sunday newspaper last month.

In Paddy’s Bar in the centre of Glenties, they theorised
about who was to blame and stressed that, regardless of his
perceived crimes, no-one deserved such a fate.

One 50-year-old man, who broke off from playing pool to
watch the latest news updates on the murder, said: “We
didn’t even know he was here until two weeks ago.

“But he had as much right to live here as anywhere else.”

His playing partner, who also refused to be named, added:
“The murder should never have happened. A death is a death
and it’s wrong.”

Both men also speculated, however, that the culprits may
not be as obvious as many believe.

“It could have been any of the boys he helped put in jail,
or someone from intelligence that was involved,” the second
man added.

But regardless of who carried out the hit, it seems Mr
Donaldson over-estimated his chances of escaping the
ultimate punishment in the post-Good Friday Agreement

Many republicans from Belfast are drawn inexorably to the
wilds of Donegal by the promise of rugged beauty and its
idyllic Atlantic coastline.

But Mr Donaldson was lured by his survival instincts – a
ploy which proved fatally flawed when his enemies
discovered his dilapidated hideout.


Posted on Wed, Apr. 05, 2006

Former Sinn Fein Member And Unmasked Spy Killed In Ireland

By Joe Mahoney And Derek Rose
New York Daily News

NEW YORK - The mutilated body of a former Sinn Fein member
was found in his home in northwest Ireland Tuesday, four
months after he was unmasked as a British spy, authorities

Denis Donaldson, a former worker for a New York-based Irish
Republican political organization, admitted in December he
had been a British mole for two decades.

Irish Foreign Minister Michael McDowell said the 55-year-
old had been tortured - his right forearm was almost
severed - before he was killed by a shotgun blast to the

Martin Galvin of the Bronx, a former director of the Irish
Northern Aid Committee, where Donaldson worked in 1988-89,
said he was "saddened, but not surprised" by the murder.

"Given all the Irish blood on Denis Donaldson's hands, I
just cannot be surprised," Galvin said. "He betrayed Irish
Republicans, some to their death, and some to years of

Galvin never suspected Donaldson was a British spy - but at
the time complained to Sinn Fein that Donaldson was doing a
"terrible job." He now believes Donaldson was deliberately
undermining the group.

Paul Murray, former national director of Irish Northern
Aid, recalled Donaldson frequently mixed with Irish
nationalist activists in this country.

"I knew once Denis was outed as a British spy, it would
only be a matter of time before someone got him," said
Murray, now an estate planner in upstate New York.

The killing came as Irish and British leaders Tony Blair
and Bertie Ahern were to travel to Northern Ireland on
Thursday to try and jump-start the peace process.

"Those who carried out this murder are clearly opposed to
the peace process," said Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

© 2006 KRT Wire and wire service sources. All Rights


Agent's Death May Hurt Peace Process

By Martina Purdy
BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent

Denis Donaldson was in the headlines when Stormont was
suspended in 2002 - and his death could jeopardise attempts
to revive the political institutions.

The murder of the double agent - who was at the centre of
the spying allegations that collapsed power-sharing - comes
just 36 hours before the prime minister and the taoiseach
were due to unveil their joint blueprint to restore

That blueprint was to be unveiled, amid much controversy,
in Armagh.

No doubt the prime minister, who has been toiling over his
words, will be reworking them to reflect the latest

But he will insist on pursuing the plan which has angered
Sinn Fein.

Republicans are unhappy that the assembly plan more closely
reflects the DUP's demands for a trust-building assembly
that operates without an executive.

While the DUP will want to push for more time, republicans
have condemned plans to have the assembly operate for six
months without ministers.

The plan is said to involve having Stormont opened again
next month with a view to electing a first and deputy first
minister to head a new executive.

Mr Blair will find it difficult to wave his finger at
unionists and demand power-sharing while the circumstances
surrounding Mr Donaldson's death are unclear

Martina Purdy

While there was no expectation such a scenario would work
within the six weeks allotted, this was meant to be the
first of two attempts this year over the six-month life of
the assembly.

The DUP would have come under serious pressure to support
the spring executive but now may add Denis Donaldson's
murder to their list of concerns.

'Dark shadow'

While it is too early to conclude who murdered Denis
Donaldson, there can be no doubt that his death is casting
a dark shadow over the peace process.

Despite the fact that so many informers over the years met
brutal ends, his murder has been almost as shocking as the
news that he was a long-term informer.

Donaldson was outed in a phase in the peace process when
the IRA had announced it was pursuing political ends only.

He had clearly hoped that he might be allowed to live in
peace, as he had pleaded just days ago when a reporter
tracked him down.

Even so, there was surprise that someone with his past was
living in Donegal in a run-down cottage in a republican

Sinn Fein has said it knows nothing about the death and
Gerry Adams has disassociated republicans who support the
peace process from the killing. The IRA has denied

If the Provisional IRA was not involved, however, it is
possible that an individual member - or indeed a dissident
organisation - was involved.

The DUP leader Ian Paisley suggested he gave no credence to
denials from republicans, including Gerry Adams.

While awaiting the pronouncements of the police, unionists
will be ever more anxious about the prospect of power-
sharing with republicans.

What is certain is that Mr Blair will find it difficult to
wave his finger at unionists and demand power-sharing while
the circumstances surrounding Mr Donaldson's death are

Tony Blair had no doubt hoped to remind everyone of the
promise of the Good Friday Agreement and Easter 1998 but
has found that, seven years on, the brutalities of the past
have not been laid to rest and continue to blight his
carefully-laid plans for Northern Ireland.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/04 21:03:34 GMT


Ahern: Gardaí Warned Donaldson Of Threat

05/04/2006 - 11:01:23

The Taoiseach has revealed this morning in the Dáil that
gardaí warned former spy Denis Donaldson that his life
could be under threat, before he was killed.

Bertie Ahern said: "Gardaí visited him in light of the
public attention he had received. They advised him because
of his circumstances that there was a perceived threat to
his life."

"They advised him on personal security and on an on-going
basis the house where he lived received passing attention."

Mr Ahern told the Dáil that he has no idea who was
responsible for the murder.

Mr Ahern told Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny in the Dáil that
gardaí visited Mr Donaldson’s home yesterday after
receiving a 999 call from a member of the public who had
noticed the door of the cottage where the former Sinn Féin
official had been living was open.

They found Mr Donaldson’s body with two spent cartridges
outside the house.

His right hand had been severed.

The Taoiseach, who is due to travel to Armagh tomorrow to
unveil proposals with his British counterpart Tony Blair to
revive devolution in Northern Ireland, described the murder
as callous.

“I have no idea at this stage who would have been
involved,” he said.

“I suppose because of the circumstances Mr Donaldson would
have had plenty of people who would have had an interest in
him in one form or another but whoever was responsible for
this evil deed was certainly no friend of the peace

He said the callous killing of the one-time Sinn Féin
administrator makes political progress difficult, as it
will be seized upon by opponents of the peace process.

The Taoiseach added that it is possible that certain
elements are deliberately out to prevent the Stormont
Assembly from re-convening.

He said this latest incident will test the resolve of the
peace process.


Gerry Adams Condemns Denis Donaldson Murder

Published: 4 April, 2006

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has "condemned without
reservation news of t he murder of Denis Donaldson".

Mr. Adams said:

"I want to condemn without reservation the murder of Denis
Donaldson. I also want to extend condolences and sympathy
to the Donaldson family. I want to disassociate Sinn Fein
and all republicans who support the peace process from this

"I have an entirely open mind as to who was responsible for
this murder. Denis Donaldson worked for the Special Branch
who ruthlessly used him to collapse a democratically
elected government. Last year they were about to publicly
expose him in a further effort to destabalise the process.
It is likely that his death at this time is intended to
undermine current efforts to make political progress.

"Those who carried out this murder are clearly opposed to
the peace process." ENDS


Donaldson Killers Have A ‘Different Agenda’, Says Ó Caoláin

04/04/2006 - 21:10:52

Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin tonight echoed party
president Gerry Adam’s condemnation of the killing of Denis

“The Donaldson family have been through hell for the last
number of months, ever since Denis admitted he worked as a
spy for the British security services,” said Ó Caoláin.
“That has now been compounded in the most brutal fashion
possible with his murder.”

“I would like to offer my condolences and sincere sympathy
to the Donaldson family and repeat my party president’s
comments disassociating Sinn Féin and all those who support
the peace process from it.

“Clearly those who carried this act out had a different

The party’s leader in the Dáil also warned against the
incident leading to political fallout.

“People should not rush to judgement in relation to this
brutal killing or try to make political capital out of it,”
he said.


Killing Places 'Dark Cloud' Over NI Talks - Paisley

Democratic Unionist Party leader, the Rev Ian Paisley said
tonight that the murder of Denis Donaldson has "put a dark
cloud" over the joint proposals due to be announced by Mr
Blair and Mr Ahern on Thursday.

"If this man has been murdered because of his connection
with IRA/Sinn Fein and because of the past happenings, then
it strikes a blow at what the two governments are trying to
do - to say that the IRA has forsaken these ways and they
are seeking peace," he said.

The veteran politician expressed scepticism at the IRA
denial of responsibility and said the killing could have
implications for the joint proposals due to be announced by
Mr Blair and Mr Ahern on Thursday.

"There are serious talks that are going to take place and I
would say that this has put a dark cloud over those talks,"
Mr Paisley said.

Mr Paisley added that he had been told that Donaldson's
hand had been cut off. "I have heard his hand was chopped
off in this murder".

He said the murder was very strange, others who had been
discovered to have been spying "were just wiped off the
face of the earth".

He added: " If what I have heard is true that they cut his
hand off, that would show that they were saying 'here is a
hand that signed away, what we would say, his obligation to
IRA/Sinn Fein and we will deal with him' - it looks like
that sort of murder."

Party colleague Nigel Dodds, the MP for North Belfast, said
the rush by Gerry Adams to absolve the IRA and Sinn Fein
was a sign of great nervousness.

"Unionists will not be fooled into accepting the denials of
Gerry Adams, a man who would still have us believe that the
IRA had nothing to do with the Northern Bank robbery and
denies himself ever having been a member of the IRA," he

© The Irish Times/


Denis Donaldson: Profile Of A Spy

Denis Donaldson (56) who was found shot dead today was once
a key part of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland.

But as he later admitted, for 20 years he was also working
for British intelligence a fact that seems inextricably
linked with his death.

This led to him being ostracised from his former party
colleagues and explains why at the time of his death he was
living in virtual squalor at a near derelict cottage
without electricity or running water in the days running up
to his death - far away from his comfortable terraced home
in republican west Belfast, which has remained empty since
he fled in December.

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.

Born in the staunch republican enclave of Short Strand in
mainly loyalist east Belfast in 1950, his commitment to
armed struggle and a prison sentence in the early 1970s
with hunger striker Bobby Sands, prepared Mr Donaldson for
key, trusted positions under the leadership of Gerry Adams.

His arrest in October 2002 along with his son-in-law and a
civil servant, became known as Stormontgate - a republican
spy ring at the heart of government caused the collapse of
the devolved power-sharing administration and suspension of
the Assembly.

Mr Donaldson was arrested after police raided Sinn Fein's
offices at Stormont as part of an investigation into
republican intelligence gathering on October 2002. During a
High Court bail application it was claimed he had risked
his life to help free Beirut hostage Brian Keenan.

But far from being a republican spying on the Government,
he was a British agent working at the heart of Sinn Fein.

Mr Donaldson claimed last December he had been turned in a
moment of weakness. The announcement sent shockwaves
through the republican movement.

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

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."

The British and Irish governments were set to unveil their
blueprint on the way forward in Armagh this Thursday but
those plans, or at least their hopes for success, have
received a heavy blow as news of Donaldson's death emerged.

© The Irish Times/


Denis Donaldson - The Background

Published on 05/04/2006

Denis Donaldson thought he had escaped his past when he set
up home in an isolated cottage in rural Donegal.

But when a senior Irish republican admits spying for the
British, things usually end tragically.

Mr Donaldson knew he would face a life on the run, hiding
from angry republicans when he admitted betraying his
comrades but only his nightmares could have foretold his
grisly fate.

The former Sinn Fein head at Stormont was living in virtual
squalor at a near derelict cottage without electricity or
running water in the days running up to his death - far
away from his comfortable terraced home in republican west
Belfast, which has remained empty since he fled in

The Democratic Unionist Party's Ian Paisley Jr had asked at
the time whether Mr Donaldson's admission was a death
sentence, and four months later it appeared that it was.

Mr Donaldson, 56, was the Sinn Fein head of administration
at the Northern Ireland Assembly, when he was arrested and
charged with having documents likely to be of use to

His republican credentials appeared beyond reproach.

Born in the staunch republican enclave of Short Strand in
mainly loyalist east Belfast in 1950, his commitment to
armed struggle and a prison sentence in the early 1970s
with hunger striker Bobby Sands, prepared Mr Donaldson for
key, trusted positions under the leadership of Gerry Adams.

In the early 1980s, long before Sinn Fein members were
accused of swapping Armalites for Armani, Denis Donaldson
took care of his appearance and was often spotted in
tailored jackets and smart shirts.

A small man in stature at five foot tall, his easy charm
allowed him to stand out, especially with women.

His arrest, along with that of his son-in-law and a civil
servant, 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.

More than three years later the British and Irish
governments were set to unveil their blueprint on the way
forward in Armagh this Thursday but those plans, or at
least their hopes for success, received a heavy blow as
news of Mr Donaldson's horrific death emerged.

Northern Ireland never ceases to surprise - even hardened
political commentators admitted to being stunned when Mr
Donaldson, known as a quiet, unassuming gentleman around
Stormont, was outed as a British spy.

Far from being a republican spying on the Government, he
was a British agent working at the heart of Sinn Fein.

Mr Donaldson claimed he had been turned in a moment of
weakness and rumours circulated that he was caught in bed
with another woman or stealing.

The announcement sent shockwaves through the republican
movement. But it was not the first time it had been rocked
by betrayal from within.

Down through the years, many illustrious republicans have
been unmasked as agents and many died - their bodies dumped
on the border with an IRA bullet in the head.

Mr Donaldson was not as lucky as the previous high-profile
agent, whose cover was blown by internet rumours and
tabloid journalists.

Freddie Scappaticci, deputy head of the IRA's internal
security unit, was unmasked as a British agent - accused of
being Stakeknife - in 2003.

He skipped out of Northern Ireland just in time. If
possible Mr Donaldson's double life is even more of a

He was a key aide to Gerry Adams and linchpin of Sinn
Fein's political operation, privy to secrets and plans, and
it was he who ensured the smooth running of the party's
Stormont machine.

He was well known to the other political parties - a
regular visitor to their offices as he discussed the
business of the house with them.

Mr Donaldson was arrested after police raided Sinn Fein's
offices at Stormont as part of an investigation into
republican intelligence gathering on October 2002.

Two days later he appeared in court on five charges, and
exactly 10 days after the raid devolution collapsed.

During a High Court bail application it was claimed he had
risked his life to help free Beirut hostage Brian Keenan.

Mr Keenan - held hostage in the Lebanon between 1986 and
1990 - sent a letter of reference to the court. It said Mr
Donaldson had talks with an adviser to the Hezbollah 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."

A later 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.

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

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

His next television appearance was very different.

He sat alone, admitting his betrayal of his comrades of
more than 30 years.

It was to be an admission that would eventually lead to a
horrific murder in an isolated cottage across the Irish
border and the death of a man who had embarrassed

Barry Weir


The Murky World Of Informers

The shooting dead of Denis Donaldson, once a key figure in
Sinn Fein, highlights the dangerous world of security
forces informers in Northern Ireland and how little safety
there is for those who choose that route.

In Northern Ireland, where paramilitaries regard loyalty to
a cause as more important than family, there is no greater
crime than to break an allegiance with your own people and
turn police informer.

For decades the IRA has dispensed its own form of brutal
summary justice to those deemed to be "touts". The loyalist
way of dealing with informers has been no less violent.

But without a doubt, informers have been the crucial cog in
the intelligence machine in Northern Ireland.

Sophisticated apparatus

In the early days of the Troubles, the security forces had
very poor, if virtually no intelligence, of what was going
on inside some of the paramilitary groups.

During the first days of internment in the 1970s, most of
the republicans held by the security forces were old-timers
- the new leadership had mostly escaped.

But by the 1990s, the security apparatus was arguably the
most sophisticated in the world, even if its methods, when
exposed, provoked outrage among some.

Informers in Northern Ireland often found themselves in the
middle of an intricate security web, sometimes answering to
RUC (now PSNI) detectives, sometimes to the force's own
independently-organised Special Branch.

But other agencies were there too. With Northern Ireland
being the top security priority beyond the Cold War, MI5
had its people on the ground and was very often at the
heart of secret meetings, or just message passing, between
republicans and the government.

Eventually, the British Army established its own networks -
both through military intelligence gathered by special
forces soldiers, very often operating closely with other
agencies, and in the shape of the ambiguously titled - and
controversial - Force Research Unit, which recruited and
ran informants.

The process of recruitment was long and required patience.
Handlers would spend months identifying potential informers
- then the target would be groomed and slowly brought into
the fold.

The most important informers to the security forces were
those who were prepared to remain inside their
organisations and supply a constant stream of information
that could be used to prevent bombings or shootings.

The authorities believed, and still do, that one good agent
on the inside is worth dozens on the outside. Among those
recruited on both sides - and now dead - were Denis
Donaldson from Sinn Fein and William Stobie, a loyalist.


In the early 1980s, the security forces sought to make
maximum capital out of informers through the "supergrass"

Some 30 supergrasses were recruited from the IRA, INLA and
loyalist UVF.

These were supposed to be key figures, in terms of the
information they knew, and the RUC would use their
statements as the basis of charging more than 300 people
with terrorist offences.

But despite the drama, the system ultimately failed as
almost half of the supergrasses retracted statements - and
many of those convicted were cleared on appeal.

While some of the supergrasses were promised a new life and
immunity from prosecution, republicans claimed that others
were intimidated into turning informers.

The insiders

But it is the use of informers still inside paramilitary
organisations that remains the most controversial.

The role of these informers had led to persistent
allegations from nationalists of collusion between the
security forces and loyalist paramilitaries - not least in
the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, a lawyer who
had acted for senior republicans and IRA members.

In a number of special investigations in recent years, BBC
journalists Peter Taylor and John Ware have detailed how
fine the line had become between security forces running
agents and abetting the operations of loyalist

One of the army's key agents was Brian Nelson, a former
soldier from Belfast. He became the UDA/UFF's head of
intelligence, providing gunmen with the information they
needed to identify targets.

The FRU's plan was to use Nelson to prevent the UFF killing
ordinary Catholics and concentrate on targeting

But allegations persist that Nelson's handlers knew of
planned operations - but did not do enough to stop some of

Nelson's murky role between paramilitaries and aiding the
law was discovered by a 1990 investigation into collusion
and he was jailed on five counts of conspiracy to murder.

Far from bringing the affair to an end, allegations
persisted that members of the security forces had crossed
the line between protecting an agent from discovery and
preventing a killing taking place. And at each stage of the
investigation, the role of informers became more and more

William Stobie, a loyalist paramilitary quartermaster
implicated in the Finucane killing, walked free from court
in 2001 - only to be killed days later by his own former
UDA comrades. He had been revealed to be working for
Special Branch.

In turn, another UDA man, Ken Barrett, was secretly
recorded by Panorama reporter John Ware - and also spoke to
police officers investigating collusion between the Army's
Force Research Unit and loyalist paramilitaries.

Barrett avoided the fate of others: as loyalist graffiti
branded him a traitor, he fled and was later jailed after
pleading guilty to his part in Pat Finucane murder.

Violent ends

What lies behind the April 2006 death of Denis Donaldson, a
British agent for 20 years at the heart of Sinn Fein, is

But the violent end of men like Mr Donaldson - dying at an
isolated County Donegal cottage - and William Stobie -
killed outside his Belfast home - shows that the life of an
agent once exposed is extremely risky.

They are caught between the world of paramilitaries that
they were once part of, and that of the security forces who
may never have fully trusted their catch.

In the extreme environment of Northern Ireland, the process
of being exposed can lead the former agent with no idea
whom to trust, or to whom to turn.

And that's the dilemma that applies to all informers.

In January 1999, former IRA man Eamon Collins became one of
the highest profile republicans to be killed by former
colleagues. He was battered to death in his hometown of

He had renounced the republican armed campaign, turned
informer and wrote a book, Killing Rage, detailing the
violence of the IRA. Despite death threats, he had chosen
not to spend his life on the run.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/04 20:49:09 GMT


Last Hours Of A Man Shrouded In Mystery

Paddy Clancy Glenties, Co Donegal

Sheep farmer Pat Bonar was probably one of the last people
to see double agent Denis Donaldson alive.

Mr Bonar (63), and his wife Eileen are the nearest
neighbours of the Donaldson hideaway cottage.

They are separated by 1.25 miles of narrow bog road,
forking off another only slightly wider bog road, in the
townland of Classey at the foot of the barren peak
Gabhnaidh Corr in the Doochary Mountains.

It is a wildly remote area eight kilometres from Glenties
on the road to Doochary. Mr Bonar believes he saw Mr
Donaldson drive past in his estate car shortly before 11am
yesterday on his way home, probably from a shopping trip to
Glenties. He had a young man and woman staying with him.

Mr Donaldson lived in a tiny white cottage with three small
windows and just one door. It is sheltered by a copse of
tall trees. Inside are just two rooms either side of a

That was where his body was found. Local gardaí were tight-
lipped about the circumstances last night as they sealed
off the road a mile from the cottage.

Roadblocks were set up across Co Donegal within minutes of
the discovery of the body. Armed detectives with bullet-
proof vests joined uniformed officers quizzing motorists.

Mr Bonar, who lives in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, but returns
frequently to check sheep he owns at Classey, said he knew
Mr Donaldson to see but hadn't spoken to him. He saw him
drive past early on Monday afternoon.

He reckons Mr Donaldson was also at the wheel when his car
drove past again yesterday.

"I know the house well. It's a very old cottage without
electricity. It is heated from a large range and probably
lit by tilley lamp.

"It was once owned by a family called O'Donnell, but the
last of them died 25 or 30 years ago. It lay empty for a
long time since and then people started visiting it and
doing little repairs to it."

Mr Bonar said the visitors spoke with Belfast accents. He
believed Mr Donaldson moved in since his last trip up from
Nenagh six weeks ago.

There were other people in the cottage in recent days. "All
I know is there was another fellow staying and there was a
girl around the house. We believed she might be his
daughter. She was about 17 or 18 and did a bit of running
up and down the road."

Mr Bonar echoed what other locals said, Donaldson didn't
mix much. The first any of them knew he was in the area was
when they read it recently in a newspaper.

Conor Lally writes:

The alarm was raised at around 4.30pm yesterday when a
neighbour went to his house. She found signs of a break-in
before discovering his remains on the floor and calling
gardaí. A window was broken and the hall door had been left

Gardaí are working on the theory he was probably shot at
around 10.30am yesterday.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said he was "shocked"
by the events.

It was a cause of "deep regret" that it would lead to
suspicion on both sides of the political divide in the
North. It was a "cowardly and brutal" murder.

He understood that Mr Donaldson was not under close
protection but gardaí were alert to his whereabouts and he
was noted moving in Glenties as late as Monday evening.

© The Irish Times


Donaldson Survivor Of The Year Award A Black Twist

By Paul O’Brien, Political Reporter

IT was a macabre twist worthy of a crime novel - at
precisely the same time news broke of Denis Donaldson’s
murder last night, a news magazine was about to announce
him winner of its Survivor of the Year award.

Several weeks ago, Magill magazine assembled political
journalists - including this reporter - to vote on awards
including Politician of the Year, Minister of the Year,
Gaffe of the Year and Survivor of the Year.

During judging for that last category, one journalist
suggested Donaldson.

The IRA’s cessation of violence meant it wasn’t in a
position to deal with the ‘tout’ in the preferred way -
with a bullet. It appeared Donaldson had survived several
decades of Russian roulette and the panel, taken with the
black humour, duly chose the winner.

At the awards ceremony in Dublin last night, Magill simply
announced the award had been cancelled.

In fact, the entire ceremony at Buswell’s Hotel was
overshadowed by the events of the day.

The fatal school bus crash in Clara, Co Offaly, meant
neither Education Minister Mary Hanafin, who won Politician
of the Year, nor Clara native Finance Minister Brian Cowen,
Minister of the Year, were present.

Other awards went to Fergus O’Dowd, TD of the Year for
campaigning on the nursing homes issue and Terry Leyden,
Senator of the Year for drawing up a bill to establish a
central office to register wills.

Ivor Callely won Gaffe of the Year for the botched handling
of his resignation, Heckler of the Year went to Fine Gael
TD Michael Ring for his Dáil quips and Liz O’Donnell was
voted Best Dressed Politician.


Ahern May Fly To US For Immigration Debate

28/03/2006 - 18:29:14

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern may jet into
Washington next week in a last-ditch lobbying bid on US
immigration reform.

The Kennedy/McCain Bill, which would allow Irish illegals
to eventually remain in the US, passed through the Senate’s
Judiciary Committee yesterday and is due to be debated on
the floor of the House this week.

Mr Ahern said tonight: “It’s doing better than we expected.
Last night’s agreement represents a very significant and
positive development in the debate on the complex and
sensitive nature of immigration reform.

“President [George] Bush has also been supportive of the
general issue.”

The minister has visited the US several times since 2004
and his officials confirmed that he may make a 36-hour
stop-over next week to lobby Senators on the Kennedy/McCain

“If the minister feels that a final push is needed to pass
the Bill, then he will make the trip,” one official said.

Hundreds of thousands of US immigrants staged weekend
protests on immigration reform in Los Angles, Denver and
several other cities.

A five-member delegation from the Oireachtas Foreign
Affairs Committee, led by chairman Michael Woods, is also
visiting Washington this week on the issue.

The Kennedy/McCain legislation would allow the estimated
50,000 Irish illegals to stay in the US and work while
applying for a green card and eventual citizenship.

“This would mean that the undocumented would receive work
and travel authorisation, which would provide them with
greater protection in the workplace and allow them to
travel to and from the US without fear of being refused re-

“I know that this would be a great relief to them and to
their families.”

Mr Ahern reiterated that the Government sees the status of
Irish illegals in the US as a top priority and remains
actively involved on a daily basis with his department’s
Irish Abroad Unit.

“It is a matter that is raised in all contacts with US
political leaders on St Patrick’s Day and other occasions
in recent years.”

Mr Ahern also praised the work of the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform (ILIR), which received a start-up grant
of 30,000 from the Irish Foreign Affairs Department.

The Irish Abroad Unit within the department was continuing
to liaise with the ILIR on the issue.

Mr Ahern added: “The Irish have made a significant input
into the debate surrounding the total estimated 12 million
undocumented immigrants in the US.”


Aer Lingus Sell Off Is Bad News For Company And Country -
Gerry Adams

Published: 5 April, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has this today reacted
angrily to the Irish Government’s announcement that it
plans to sell off the nation’s stake in Aer Lingus.

Speaking today Mr Adams said:

“The decision by the Government to break up Aer Lingus is
against the wishes of the vast majority of the Irish
people. This government could not wait to sell off its
majority share in the company. It is intent on auctioning
off a vital piece of national and strategic infrastructure
to the highest private bidder.

“Sinn Féin is steadfastly opposed to the relentless
privatization agenda which remains prevalent in Ireland and
across the EU. Indeed, there has been widespread opposition
to this move from the members of Ireland's largest union
SIPTU, who represent the majority of Aer Lingus workers and
also by local authorities from Dublin to Cork." ENDS


Paisley Refuses To Rule Out 'Miracle' Return To Assembly

04/04/2006 - 17:58:50

DUP leader Rev Ian Paisley said today it will take a
miracle for all parties to meet the November 24 deadline
for the restoration of the Northern Assembly.

But speaking in Downing Street after holding talks with
Tony Blair, he added: “Miracles do happen.”

The British Prime Minister and Bertie Ahern are due in
Armagh on Thursday to announce new proposals to revive the
power sharing executive in shadow form next month in
advance of full restoration of the institutions in Belfast
by November.

But Mr Paisley restated today that he would not enter an
institution with Sinn Féin until it proved it was working
within the law.

“No one can be in a Government of Ireland until they are
absolutely clear of terrorism and criminality.

“That’s our position and we are sticking to it.

“The Prime Minister agrees that we cannot have them in
Government if they are still involved in terrorism and

He said he maintained that the IRA had not decommissioned
all of its weapons, and he wanted to “see on the ground”
that it had happened.

Yesterday Mr Blair met Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, the
party’s chief negotiator Martin McGuiness and spokesman
Gerry Kelly for similar talks.

Afterwards, Mr McGuiness said: “We have made it absolutely
clear that under no circumstances are we going to
participate in a shadow assembly or shadow committees.

“We will not give our consent to the formation of such
committees. These are the demands of the DUP because they
want to see the continuation of unionist domination.

“What needs to be done is that the suspension of
institutions should be ended. If the DUP are not prepared
to participate in that then they should move on.”


DUP Peerages To Set Tone For Talks

By Brian Walker
05 April 2006

Peerages for Eileen Paisley and two DUP colleagues are
expected to be announced next week, helping to set the
scene for recalling the Assembly and forming a government.

After a six-month delay, the government has extricated from
the "Lords for loans" affair appointments to the House of
Lords for Ian Paisley's wife, Belfast Lord Mayor Wallace
Brown and DUP party chairman Maurice Morrow.

Former UUP leader David Trimble is also expected to go to
the Lords.

Although, strictly speaking, the awards are unconnected
with efforts to restore the institutions, the move will be
seen as an encouragement to get the ball rolling when the
Assembly is convened on May 15.

Despite the differences, both Governments profess they can
"close the gap" between the DUP and Sinn Fein in the coming
seven months.

According to an Alliance delegation which met Mr Blair
yesterday, the Prime Minister was upbeat and ready to hold
intensive talks if initial attempts over the first six
weeks of the Assembly's recall fail.

A relatively brief statement is expected from Tony Blair
and Bertie Ahern when they unveil their plan for the
Assembly in Armagh tomorrow. The visit is not expected to
be affected by the murder of former British spy Denis

A Government spokesman said: "Thursday's visit is going to
go ahead. While this murder may be destabilising, it
illustrates precisely why Thursday's visit must go ahead."

Thursday's statement will differ from the formal step-by-
step timetable laid out in the abortive comprehensive
proposals of 2004. First drafts of the plan were delayed at
the Taoiseach's behest to make changes to meet Sinn Fein
and SDLP objections that it favoured the DUP.

It's understood the prime ministers will make it clear a
committee structure cannot substitute a move towards
Executive government.

"All the parties will know exactly what they have to do
every step of the way," said an official source.

Late sweeteners for Sinn Fein include the demolition of the
last of the south Armagh watchtowers.

In addition to a redundancy package for the Royal Irish
Regiment, a £33m package for deprived loyalist areas has
been announced.


Envoy Vows To Raise UVF Murder In Washington

04/04/2006 - 15:55:36

Allegations that loyalist killers were shielded by police
are to be raised with officials in Washington, the US
Consul General in the North vowed today.

Dean Pittman made the pledge after meeting Raymond McCord,
the father of an Ulster Volunteer Force murder victim.

Mr McCord has been demanding justice over claims that his
son Raymond Jr, a 22-year-old former RAF operator, was
beaten to death and dumped in a north Belfast quarry in
1997 on the orders of a special branch informer within the

A major probe into his allegations, carried out by Northern
Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan’s investigators, is
close to completion.

And after lobbying political leaders on both sides of the
Irish border, Mr McCord today held hour-long talks with the
Consul General at his offices in south Belfast.

Mr Pittman said after the meeting: “We have been aware of
the case and we wanted to hear Mr McCord’s story first

“We had a good discussion and I admire Mr McCord’s efforts
to get justice for his son.

“I told him we would continue to follow the case and would
convey to officials in Washington the issues that Mr McCord
raised with me.”

It is understood senior representatives from both Sinn Féin
and the SDLP pressed Mr McCord’s case during the St
Patrick’s Day celebrations at the White House.

The Belfast man has alleged that a ruthless UVF unit in the
north of the city was under state control and given a free
reign to murder.

He has been backed by both Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams
and SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

Last month he also met with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in a bid
to intensify pressure on the authorities to hold a public
inquiry into his claims.

Mr McCord said he was encouraged by the level of interest
shown by the Consul General.

“These are people who are long-term informers allowed to
kill,” he claimed.

“Senior people, including the man who ordered my son’s
murder, were involved in murder after murder.

“The Americans now have taken a very keen interest in this

“I have asked them to use whatever influence they have on
the British Government to put pressure on Tony Blair.

“Dean Pittman will speak to his people in Washington and
the Special Envoy (to the North) Mitchell Reiss.

“I would like to think the Americans will become highly
involved in it, particularly with Mrs O’Loan’s report due


Kelly - Making Poverty A Sectarian Issue Serious Mistake

Published: 4 April, 2006

Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly commenting on the
£33 million allocated to Loyalist working class areas has
said that it is a serious mistake to sectarianise poverty.

Mr Kelly said:

"It is a serious mistake to sectarianise poverty. The only
way to tackle poverty, wherever it exists, is on the basis
of objective need, and need alone.

"Setting aside New TSN policy and equality legislation is
also wrong and will have serious legal implications. It
raises serious questions about commitment of the British
government to the equality agenda and concerns about how
future funds will be allocated.

"Poverty, educational under achievement and unemployment
are huge issues across all sections of our society. The
only approach should be to tackle need where it exists.
Instead of taking decisions along sectarian lines the
objective should be to tackle educational under achievement
everywhere that it exists by putting money where it is most
needed. The same approach should be taken with
unemployment, poor skills, housing and health.

"Everyone accepts that there are serious levels of poverty
in disadvantaged working class loyalist areas and
particular problems around educational under achievement.
By the same measure it should be accepted that all of the
recent objective evidence shows that poverty and
disadvantage is more widespread in nationalist areas. Seven
of the 10 most deprived areas in the north are in
nationalist areas. Nationalists are still more likely to be
unemployed and a greater percentage leave school with no
qualifications." ENDS


Maze Escaper To Face Trial On Kidnap Charges


The Special Criminal Court yesterday fixed a date in
October for the trial of Maze prison escaper Brendan "Bik"
McFarlane on charges connected with the 1983 kidnap of
supermarket boss Don Tidey.

Last month the Supreme Court cleared the way for the trial,
upholding an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions
against an earlier High Court order to stop McFarlane's
trial going ahead at the Special Criminal Court.

The Special Criminal Court fixed October 3rd as the date
for his trial.

McFarlane (52), of Jamaica Street, Belfast, was charged in
January 1998 with falsely imprisoning Mr Tidey in 1983 and
with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life
at Derrada Wood, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, in November and
December 1983.

McFarlane had been in prison at the Maze since 1975 for his
part in the IRA bombing of a bar on the Shankill Road in
which five people were killed.

He was the leader of the Provisional IRA prisoners at the
Maze prison and escaped in the mass breakout by 38
prisoners in September, 1983.

Mr Tidey was kidnapped by an IRA gang in 1983 and rescued
after 23 days in captivity.

McFarlane's counsel, Stephen McCann, told the court
yesterday that following the Supreme Court decision, his
lawyers intended to make a fresh application for judicial
review of the case at the High Court in the next law term.

He said that the original judicial review proceedings began
in 1999 and only concluded last month.

© The Irish Times


Court Upholds IRA Membership Conviction


The Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to a key
section of emergency legislation brought by a former Irish
soldier as part of an unsuccessful appeal against his
conviction for membership of the IRA.

The ruling clears the way for a number of IRA membership
trials, which had been adjourned pending the outcome of the
appeal, to proceed at the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

The case centred on the right of persons accused of
membership to cross-examine a Garda chief superintendent on
the basis of the officer's belief that an accused is a
member of an unlawful organisation.

Under the Offences Against the State Act, a Garda chief
superintendent's belief is evidence of membership; in
practice, however, the belief must be supported by other
evidence before the court will convict.

Martin Kelly (49), a former corporal in the Defence Forces,
of Westpark, Artane, Dublin, was convicted in November 2003
of membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself
the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann,
otherwise the IRA, on July 29th, 2002, and was jailed for
four years.

During the trial, the Special Criminal Court heard that
Kelly and another man demanded money from a Dublin
businessman to protect his lapdancing club at Crown Alley
in Temple Bar. The businessman handed over €15,000 to the
two men before going to the gardaí. He said the men told
him the money was for the Continuity IRA.

Det Chief Supt Philip Kelly said in evidence that he
believed Kelly was a member of the IRA.

Martin Kelly, however, in evidence on his own behalf,
denied membership of the Continuity IRA and said he had
spent 26 years in the Defence Forces.

The Court of Criminal Appeal turned down Kelly's appeal but
certified that a point of law raised by his lawyers should
go to the Supreme Court for consideration.

Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Nial Fennelly, in a
unanimous judgment supported by all five judges, said that
the right to cross-examine one's accusers is an essential
element in a fair trial. However, that did not mean that
restrictions may not be imposed in the interests of overall
balance and the efficiency of the criminal justice system.

He said the use of the evidence of the chief superintendent
applied only to organisations that represent a threat, not
only to the institutions of the State, but to individuals
who were prepared to co-operate with the State in securing
the conviction of members of such organisations. This made
it possible to justify some restrictions to direct access
on behalf of the accused to the identity of his accusers.

The judge said that the legislature has allowed such
evidence to be given by members of the Garda Síochána of
particularly high rank, who can be presumed to have been
chosen for having high standards of integrity. The offence
is a scheduled one where the cases would only be heard in
the Special Criminal Court, a court composed of judges who
must be presumed to apply only the highest standards of
fairness, he added.

The judge said that there was quite extensive evidence,
other than the evidence of the chief superintendent, which
convinced the Special Criminal Court that Kelly was a
member of the IRA.

The court had taken into account that the chief
superintendent had claimed privilege relating to his
evidence but did not explain this remark any further, Mr
Justice Fennelly noted.

The SCC should have explained the weight it attached to the
evidence of the senior Garda officer, Mr Justice Fennelly
said. However, in the particular circumstances of the
trial, he did not think there was any overall unfairness.

"I do not think that the undoubted restriction on the
rights of the accused went further than was strictly
necessary to protect other potential witnesses or
informants," he found.

© The Irish Times


Ex-IRA Man Gets 6 Years For Bomb Attack In Germany

Derek Scally in Berlin

Self-confessed former IRA member Leonard Joseph Hardy has
been sentenced to six years in prison for planning and
carrying out a 1989 bomb attack on a British military base
in Germany.

The regional high court in Celle, near Hanover, announced
the verdict yesterday morning, two weeks after Belfast-born
Hardy (45) confessed to the charges of attempted murder and
attempting to cause an explosion at the Osnabrück army base
in western Germany.

The court justified the sentence noting Hardy's "disregard
for human life" and his "high criminal energy", spending
months scouting potential targets in Germany.

However, it also noted as mitigating circumstances his full
confession to the court and his decision to turn himself
over to German authorities in January this year.

Hardy, who has British and Irish citizenship, was arrested
while on holidays with his family in Spain last August. He
was released by Spanish authorities and returned to Ireland
but then presented himself to officials in Frankfurt in
January before being released on €20,000 bail.

The court also noted the passing of time since 1989 and the
peace efforts since the Belfast Agreement.

The state prosecutor had called for a seven-year sentence
and the defence for no more than three years.

During the trial, Hardy's defence lawyer said they would
not appeal the sentence.

In his statement to the court, Hardy admitted he was a
member of a Provisional IRA unit that carried out the
attack on the British army camp between 1am and 2am on June
19th, 1989.

Hardy and four others mounted five explosive devices
containing a total of 120kg of Semtex on the three exterior
walls of block 12 of the the barracks, said the state
prosecutor, with the aim of "killing as many soldiers of
the British army as possible".

The perpetrators were disturbed by a base employee as they
set the detonators, and a struggle followed. Five soldiers
sleeping inside the block woke up and left the room. Just
one of the devices detonated a few minutes later, causing
around €77,000 worth of damage and partly destroying the
building but causing no loss of life.

Donna Maguire went on trial with three others in connection
with the attack in 1995.

All four were found guilty and given sentences of between
nine and 10 years but they were immediately released after
the verdict, having served nearly two-thirds of the
sentence in remand prisons.

© The Irish Times


Amnesty Seeks NI Rendition Probe

Amnesty International is calling for a public inquiry into
alleged Northern Ireland involvement in CIA prisoner
transfer flights.

The human rights group says it has new evidence that planes
taking prisoners to illegal imprisonment and torture landed
and took off from NI airports.

The planes are said to have landed at Belfast International
and City of Derry airports after January 2001.

Amnesty will publish a report on the "extraordinary
rendition" on Wednesday.

The Amnesty report traces the movement of four of the CIA's
26 aircraft.

According to the report, two separate planes that have been
regularly used by the CIA have passed through Belfast
International and City of Derry Airports on a total of five

Shannon Airport has been used on 78 occasions and Dublin
Airport on three occasions, it said.

'Sinister practices'

One of the planes which has allegedly landed at both
Belfast and Derry airports is the Gulfstream which is said
to have made more than 100 trips to Guantanamo Bay.

It is not clear whether the aircraft were carrying
prisoners when they landed at UK airports.

Amnesty International NI programme director Patrick
Corrigan said: "With mounting evidence of illegal CIA
rendition flights through European airspace - and multiple
landings and take-offs of CIA planes at UK airports,
inclduing both Belfast and Derry - there must be an
independent inquiry into all aspects of UK involvement in
these sinister practices.

"The Northern Ireland public requires reassurance that
airports like Belfast International and City of Derry are
not hosting planes used to transport prisoners for secret
detention and torture.

"We are insisting that the US administration immediately
ends all renditions, that all 'rendered' prisoners are
identified and allowed lawyers, and that American aviation
companies stop turning a blind eye to what the CIA does
with their planes."

In the past, the Foreign Office has said it has no record
of any requests by the US to use UK airspace or airports
for rendition since the 11 September 2001 attacks on the

Amnesty's 41-page report, entitled Below The Radar: Secret
Flights To Torture And "Disappearance", also has
testimonies from people who have been detained.

"Amnesty have also talked to three individuals from Yemen
who are believed to have been held at the CIA's own secret
detention facilities," said the BBC's security
correspondent Gordon Corera.

"The men describe being held by masked men with American
accents who attempted to disguise their location. Based on
details of their detention, Amnesty says it believes they
were held in one of a handful of countries in Eastern
Europe or Central Asia," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/05 06:57:41 GMT


Extraordinary Rendition, Torture And Amnesty

International Anti-War News Report Wednesday April
05, 2006 10:42 by Seán Ryan

Amnesty International has brought the investigation into
Extraordinary rendition and torture a step further. In the
early hours of this morning it released a report titled:


Below the radar: Secret flights
to torture and 'disappearance’"
Shannon Warport is shown in a new light.

A damning report issued by Amnesty International this
morning has provided harrowing testemony and evidence about
the crimes against humanity, commonly referred to as
torture and extraordinary rendition.

Amnesty has called on all Governments to take heed of the

No renditions

- Do not render or otherwise transfer to the custody of
another state anyone suspected or accused of security
offences unless the transfer is carried out under judicial
supervision and in full observance of due legal process.

- Ensure that anyone subject to transfer has the right to
challenge its legality before an independent tribunal, and
that they have access to an independent lawyer and an
effective right of appeal.

- Do not receive into custody anyone suspected or accused
of security offences unless the transfer is carried out
under judicial supervision and in full observance of due
legal process.

- Information on the numbers, nationalities and current
whereabouts of all terror suspects rendered, extradited or
otherwise transferred into custody from abroad should be
publicly available. Full personal details should be
promptly supplied to the families and lawyers of the
detainees, and to the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC).

- Bring all such detainees before a judicial authority
within 24 hours of entry into custody.

- Ensure that detainees have prompt access to legal counsel
and to family members, and that lawyers and family members
are kept informed of the detainee’s whereabouts.

- Ensure that detainees who are not nationals of the
detaining country have access to diplomatic or other
representatives of their country of nationality or former
habitual residence.

No ‘disappearances’, no secret detention

- End immediately the practices of incommunicado and secret
detention wherever and under whatever agency it occurs.

- Hold detainees only in officially recognized places of
detention with access to family, legal counsel and courts.

- Ensure that those responsible for "disappearances" are
brought to justice, and that victims and families receive
restitution, compensation and rehabilitation.

- Investigate any allegations that their territory hosts or
has hosted secret detention facilities, and make public the
results of such investigations.

No torture or other ill-treatment

- Ensure that interrogations are carried out in accordance
with international standards, in particular without any use
of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

- Investigate all complaints and reports of torture or
other ill-treatment promptly, impartially and effectively,
using an agency independent of the alleged perpetrators,
and ensure that anyone found responsible is brought to

- Ensure that victims of torture obtain prompt reparation
from the state including restitution, fair and adequate
financial compensation and appropriate medical care and

No diplomatic assurances

- Prohibit the return or transfer of people to places where
they are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

- Do not require or accept "diplomatic assurances" or
similar bilateral agreements to justify renditions or any
other form of involuntary transfers of individuals to
countries where there is a risk of torture or other ill-

No renditions flights

- Identify to the aviation authorities any plane or
helicopter used to carry out the missions of the
intelligence services as a state aircraft, even if the
aircraft in question is chartered from a private company.

- Ensure that airports and airspace are not used to support
and facilitate renditions or rendition flights.

- Maintain and update a register of aircraft operators
whose planes have been implicated in rendition flights, and
require them to provide detailed information before
allowing them landing or flyover rights. Such information
should include: the full flight plan of the aircraft,
including onward stops and full itinerary, the full names
and nationalities of all passengers on board, and the
purposes of their travel.

- If any passengers are listed as prisoners or detainees,
more detailed information about their status and the status
of their flight should be required, including their
destination and the legal basis for their transfer.

- Refuse access to airspace and airfields if requested
information is not provided.

- If there are grounds to believe that an aircraft is being
used in connection with renditions or other human rights
violations, board the plane or require it to land for

- If such inspection indicates that the flight is being
used for the unlawful transfer of people, or other human
rights violations, the flight should be held until the
lawfulness or otherwise of its purpose can be established,
and appropriate law enforcement action taken.

Additional recommendations to the US government:

- Ensure that anyone held in US custody in any part of the
world can exercise the right to legal representation and to
a fair and transparent legal process;

- Disclose the location and status of the detention centres
where Muhammad Abdullah Salah al-Assad, Muhammad Faraj
Ahmed Bashmilah and Salah Nasser Salim ‘Ali Qaru were held
between October 2003 and May 2005;

- Disclose the identities and whereabouts of all others
held in secret locations and their legal status, and invite
the ICRC to have full and regular access to all those

- Release all detainees in US custody at undisclosed
locations unless they are to be charged with
internationally recognizable criminal offences and brought
to trial promptly and fairly, in full accordance with
relevant international standards, and without recourse to
the death penalty;

- Promptly and thoroughly investigate all allegations of
"disappearance", and bring those suspected of having
committed, ordered or authorized a "disappearance" before
the competent civil authorities for prosecution and trial.

Recommendations to private aircraft operators and leasing

- Ensure that the company is aware of the end use of any
aircraft it is leasing or operating;

- Do not lease or otherwise allow the operation of any
aircraft where there is reason to believe it might be used
in human rights violations, including rendition or
associated operations;

- Develop an explicit human rights policy, ensuring that it
complies with the UN Norms on the Responsibilities of
Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises
with Regard to Human Rights.

Amnesty has investigated the claims and charges of many
people who were kidnapped on American orders or indeed by
the Americans themselves. Many harrowing accounts are given
and a good picture is built up of the American rendition
strategy. According to Amnesty it appears to be American
policy to render people moreso to keep them 'off the
streets' than to track and punish legitimate terrorists.

Shannon Airport gets quite a few mentions. The details of
the flights of 4 CIA torture/rendition planes are given.

First plane mentioned.

1. N 313P-N4476S

N313P-N4476S is a Boeing 737-7ET (BBJ) aircraft (m/n 33010)
for which there are 396 recorded landings or taking offs
between 22 November 2002 and 8 September 2005. Flight
records show that it was the plane that took Khaled el-
Masri from Skopje to Afghanistan in January 2004, and Human
Rights Watch has identified it as the "plane that the CIA
used to move several prisoners to and from Europe,
Afghanistan, and the Middle East in 2003 and 2004 – it
landed in Poland and Romania on direct flights from
Afghanistan on two occasions in 2003 and 2004.

The table associated with this plane shows that second only
in frequency of usage to Germany with 73 passages through
Frankfurt Airport was Shannon Warport with 23 passages
through it.

For plane 2. N379P-N8068V-N44982

We are third lagging behind Frankfurt with 70 passages and
Prestwick in England with 36 - we had 22

The final plane is the most frightening.

Plane 4 - N85VM-N227SV.

This time we are second in the frequency of passages
throught the airport. This plane has passed through Shannon
30 times. The most frequented landing strip by this plane
is the landing strip in Guantánamo Bay US Naval Air
Station, Cuba. This plane had 114 passages through this
particular hellhole.

Despite all this evidence. American military still use
Shannon and possibly other Irish sites to carry the war
machince forwards and very probably use it/them to carry
their victims backwards.

Bertie et al must be very proud of themselves.

Related link:-


International Day Of Remembrance For Hungerstrikers

International Rights And Freedoms Event Notice Tuesday
April 04, 2006 17:49 by Ógra B - Ógra Shinn Féin

'Be Like Mickey!'

August 20 Marks the day Irish Republican Hungerstriker
Mickey Devine Died on Hungerstrike 25 years ago.

Micky once wrote: "I will never forget standing in the
Creggan chapel staring at the brown wooden boxes. We
mourned, and Ireland mourned with us.

"That sight more than anything convinced me that there will
never be peace in Ireland while Britain remains. When I
looked at those coffins I developed a commitment to the
republican cause that I have never lost."

'Be like Thomas!'

August 8 Marks the day Irish Republican Hungerstriker
Thomas McElwee Died on Hungerstrike 25 years ago.

Speaking of the hunger strike and her sons and their
comrades during Thomas' strike, Mrs. McElwee said: "I know
Thomas and Benedict would be determined to stand up for
their rights. In the Blocks one will stand for another. If
this hunger strike isn't settled one way or another they'll
all go the same way. There'll never be peace in this

'Be Like Kieran'

August 2 Marks the day Irish Republican Hungerstriker
Kieran Doherty Died on Hungerstrike 25 years ago.

A child, like hundreds of others a product of British
brutality and stupidity in the North, who revealed himself
to be an outstanding soldier of the republic.

Kieran was a shy, reserved, easily-embarrassed young man
who was single-minded and determined enough to have become,
in himself, a condensed history of the liberation of a

'Be like Kevin!'

August 1 Marks the day Irish Republican Hungerstriker Kevin
Lynch Died on Hungerstrike 25 years ago.

A well-known and well liked young man in the closely-knit
community of his home town, Kevin was remembered chiefly
for his outstanding ability as a sportsman, and for
qualities of loyalty, determination and a will to win which
distinguished him on the sports field and which, in heavier
times and circumstances, were his hallmarks as an H-Block
blanket man on hunger strike to the death.

'Be like Martin!'

July 13 Marks the day Irish Republican Hungerstriker Martin
Hurson Died on Hungerstrike 25 years ago.

Having seriously deteriorated after forty days on hunger
strike, he was unable to hold down water and died a
horrifically agonising death after only forty-four days on
hunger strike, at 4.30 a m. on Monday, July 13th 1981.

'Be like Joe!'

July 8 Marks the day Irish Republican Hungerstriker Joe
McDonnell Died on Hungerstrike 25 years ago.

At 5.11 a.m., on July 8th 1981, Joe McDonnell, who -
believeably, for those who know his wife Goretti, his
children Bernadette and Joseph and his family - "had too
much to live for" died after sixty one days of agonising
hunger strike, rather than be criminalised.

Na Fianna Eireann activist - Fiann John Dempsey was shot
while on active service in Turf Lodge Belfast - on the day
of Joe McDonnell's death - we remember him with pride!

'Be like Ray!'

May 21 Marks the day Irish Republican Hungerstrikers Ray
McCreesh and Patsy O'Hara Died on Hungerstrike 25 years

Ray's brother famously said, 'My Brother is not a

Writing shortly before the hunger strike began, Patsy
O'Hara grimly declared: "We stand for the freedom of the
Irish nation so that future generations will enjoy the
prosperity they rightly deserve, free from foreign
interference, oppression and exploitation. The real
criminals are the British imperialists who have thrived on
the blood and sweat of generations of Irish men."

'Be like Francis'

May 12 marks the day Irish Republican Hungerstriker Francis
Hughes Died on Hungerstrike 25 years ago.

We are asking the youth of the world to join with Ógra
Shinn Féin in commemorating this brave Irish revolutionary
who died the most awful of deaths, to advance the struggle
for freedom and socialism.

As Francis once said, 'Victory to the Provos!'

'Be like Bobby'

May 5 Marks the day Irish Republican Hungerstriker Bobby
Sands Died on Hungerstrike 25 years ago.

We are asking the youth of the world to join with Ógra
Shinn Féin in commemorating this brave Irish revolutionary
who died the most awful of deaths, to advance the struggle
for freedom and socialism.

As Bobby wrote, 'Our revenge will be the liberation of

We are asking the youth of the world to join with Ógra
Shinn Féin in commemorating this brave Irish revolutionary
who died the most awful of deaths, to advance the struggle
for freedom and socialism.

Ideas suggested are:

Youth Marches,
'Rock The Block' concerts,
White line vigils,
Candle light vigils,
Torchlight processions,
Banner drops,
Postering etc,
and especially making use of the '10 reasons posters.'

Every area should be organising an event, of whatever size
to mark this momentous date in this significant

Related Link:


Opin: A Serious Blow To Political Progress Prospects

The political ramifications of the Donaldson murder on the
province's already precarious peace process will be huge.
Political Correspondent Noel McAdam gives his assessment of
the initial impact.

05 April 2006

It had become a lonely life.

Without water, without power, apparently without friends,
Denis Donaldson eked out a meagre existence in a run-down

And last night the execution-style murder of the former
senior republican and self-confessed British spy threatened
to throw the already knife-edge negotiations on devolution
into further disarray.

Within minutes of Donaldson's grisly death becoming public,
senior Government sources were characterising the killing
as a deliberate attempt to derail the political process,
just 24 hours before Tony Blair attempts to get his peace
train back on track.

The murder, less than six months after the ex-Sinn Fein
Stormont head of administration was exposed as a spy in the
pay of British intelligence, means the prospects for any
immediate attempt to work towards an "enabling environment"
which could hopefully have led, sometime this year, to some
kind of progress, has all but dissipated.

Certainly the timing is sinister and the apparent terrorist
'signature' - one of Mr Donaldson's hand is said to have
been severed - throws up ghosts of the worst days of the

Who carried it out is likely to be left to speculation, at
least for now. It doesn't appear to be in the interest of
almost any group to claim responsibility for the atrocity
at Donaldson's isolated bolthole in a remote corner of
Donegal near Glenties.

Dissident republicans? An angry individual with a score to

The British and Irish governments were taking some tiny
solace in the pace and firm tone of Sinn Fein president
Gerry Adams' quick disassociation and denunciation of the
killing, and his revelation that he had been in touch with
the Donaldson family shortly before the news broke.

Within an hour P O'Neill was also back on the airwaves as
the IRA denied any involvement. While Donaldson had been
told he would not be allowed to return to his west Belfast
home, there had also been assurances he would not be

But both statements are unlikely to convince unionists
already highly sceptical over republican intentions and
unwilling to even consider sharing power with Sinn Fein for
the foreseeable future.

Even if it wanted to, how could the DUP sell any deal at

The Governments know Ian Paisley is key to the credibility
of any agreement.

If the DUP leader can be squared, most of unionism can be
expected to go along. But the cottage killing will be
viewed as a return to Provisionals' form.

Mr Paisley was last night insisting that the finger of
blame pointed squarely in the direction of "Sinn Fein/IRA"
and warned the killing had massive repercussions for the
political process.

Nevertheless, premiers Blair and Ahern intend to press
ahead tomorrow with publication of their plans to set the
current Assembly up for the first time since it was


Opin: He Played Double Life Brilliantly All Through

The man I knew by David Sharrock

“ALL conflicts end in political solutions — it’s the only
way,” were Denis Donaldson’s final words in the last
interview he gave as he tried to hide at a Donegal cottage
without electricity and running water.

It was a familiar echo of a conversation I had with him
more than a decade ago on a wet evening at his terraced
home in West Belfast.

I considered myself fortunate to have landed Mr Donaldson
as a source, having met him at numerous republican events
such as protests on the Irish border over roads cratered by
the Army to disrupt and prevent IRA raiding parties.

There were two things I valued about talking to him: first,
here was a man who had been at the centre of the republican
enterprise since its inception and who could talk not just
with authority but also a broad vision of the battlefield.

Secondly I was talking to him without the knowledge of the
republican propaganda machine. Contact with members of the
republican movement, big fish or minnows, was even more
rigorously controlled in the days when its official
newspaper still published weekly bulletins of “war news”.

How naive I was, I told myself, the December day that Mr
Donaldson made his televised confession to being a British
agent. By the time he was offering me coffee with his
family in the next room, he had been working for “the
Brits”, as he called his paymasters, for more than a

In his confession — for that is what it was, doubtless
agreed in every detail with the Provisionals before he made
it — Mr Donaldson said that he began working for British
Intelligence and the Royal Ulster Constabulary Special
Branch after “compromising” himself during “a vulnerable
time in my life”.

There was no further elaboration, but there has been
speculation that he had been caught cheating on his wife —
he had a reputation as a ladies’ man — or that, after
having experienced prison, he was doing a relative a favour
so that charges would be dropped.

Whatever the motive — others have argued that “touts” get
“a buzz” out of the control that they feel over events and
people — he played his double life brilliantly right
through all the major events of the Troubles.

Even when he was caught, he seemed to perform like Steve
McQueen in The Great Escape. Told that the Provisional IRA
was on to him after the collapse of a trial in which he had
been accused of operating an IRA spy-ring at Stormont, he
chose not to accept British rehousing, a pension and a new

He gave himself up to his betrayed comrades and cut a deal.
The amazement on Gerry Adams’s face as he admitted that Mr
Donaldson had been working as a British agent told its own

Long ago Mr Donaldson had provided me with the key to
understanding what the peace process was to be all about.
“For too many people the IRA has become the end in itself
and no longer the vehicle to achieve the end for which it
fights,” he said.

He meant, of course, that the “armed struggle” had become
an obstacle to reuniting Ireland. Now I know that Mr
Donaldson was a British agent — an agent of influence in
its broadest sense.


Opin: Mercilessness And Brutality Remain At The Heart Of
This Conflict


Denis Donaldson was caught in the no-man's land between his
British intelligence handlers and the Provisional
republican movement he betrayed, writes Gerry Moriarty

There is something awfully grim, sad and wretched about the
life, times and terrible death of Denis Donaldson. Amid all
the claim and counterclaim in December when Donaldson was
exposed as a British agent, a senior Dublin source found a
positive comment to make.

The penalty for most exposed informers during the conflict,
ahead of the ceasefires and even occasionally after them,
was death - plain, pitiless and simple. "Well, at least
Denis Donaldson is alive; he's not lying tied up and naked
along some lonely Border road somewhere," the Government
official said when the latest startling chapter in
Stormontgate unfolded.

The import was that we have come a long way, that the
brutality is behind us. But the Government official was
proved wrong. There is still a mercilessness at the heart
of this conflict.

There are many political and security implications arising
from the murder of Donaldson, but firstly there is the
human dimension. Denis Donaldson cut a lonely, pathetic
figure when he admitted he was a British spy on camera to
Charlie Bird in a Dublin hotel last December after Gerry
Adams earlier dropped the bombshell that he was a British

As Sinn Féin administrator at Stormont, he and two other
men were arrested three years ago for being allegedly
involved in an IRA spy ring at Stormont. This so-called
Stormontgate affair brought down the Northern Executive and
Assembly in October 2002. In early December all charges
against the men were dropped. Around that period, Mr
Donaldson admitted to republicans that he was a British
agent and a week or so later made his confession on TV.

He appeared like one of those abject characters that
feature in literary thrillers by the likes of Graham Greene
or John le Carré, an individual caught in the no-man's land
between his British intelligence handlers and the
Provisional republican movement which he betrayed.

He followed the republican script for the RTÉ camera,
insisting there never was an IRA spy ring, that it was all
a "scam and a fiction". But he looked a desperate, haunted

At the end of the day this former friend of Bobby Sands was
isolated and alone, apparently abandoned by his spymasters
and also by Sinn Féin and the IRA, living in a little
cottage in a remote part of southwest Donegal not far from

The news of his death still had a capacity to shock despite
all the years of death and violence. How must his family
have felt when the news broke yesterday evening; word that
his right forearm was almost severed adding to the horror?

So, who murdered him? Obviously all the people he betrayed
over his 20 years as an agent would have a motive. Did the
decommissioned IRA on ceasefire decide this was the time to
exact revenge for his years of disloyalty?

Could the intelligence people who "ran him" have decided he
was too dangerous alive, as Gerry Adams hinted last night?
Did dissident republicans kill him? Was it a Provo acting

Don't expect quick answers.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell asked an interesting
question last night: who benefits? A similar question was
posed by a British source who suggested that the timing of
his death was designed to wreck the prospects of tomorrow's
meeting between Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair to unveil a
plan to restore devolution this year.

The murder of Denis Donaldson could undermine the chances
of that plan succeeding. It will have made it more
difficult for Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams to do a deal.

Certainly the murder would benefit those dissident
republicans who want the peace process to fail. It would
also benefit those so-called "securocrats" Sinn Féin
regularly accuse of seeking to destabilise the process.

© The Irish Times


Opin: The Execution: How An IRA Man Turned British Spy Met
His Brutal End

By David McKittrick
05 April 2006

The long arm of republican vengeance reached inside a
remote Irish mountain cottage yesterday and took the life
of Denis Donaldson, the former IRA and Sinn Fein member who
was recently unmasked as a police agent.

One or more assassins cornered the 56-year-old republican,
gunning him down in the primitive ramshackle cottage where
he had hidden himself away from the world. There were
unconfirmed reports last night that his body had been

The cottage is in the Blue Stack Mountains near the Donegal
village of Glenties, a rugged and sparsely populated area.
It seemed he felt safe there, even though last month his
presence was publicised. But the republican tradition of
carrying out what are called "executions" of known
informers has evidently not faded with the general rundown
of the IRA campaign.

There is no mystery about why he was killed, since the IRA
makes no secret of its hatred and contempt for informers
and agents in its ranks. Republican organisations have
killed many over the centuries, including scores in recent
decades. But the question is exactly who killed him and
whether his assassination was sanctioned by the IRA
leadership. The answer will determine the immediate
political future of Northern Ireland.

The killing sent major tremors coursing through the Irish
peace process, since if the IRA is judged to have been
responsible this phase of the process will come to a halt.
The IRA declared last night that it had "no involvement
whatsoever" in the killing, an assertion which will now be
thoroughly tested by police on both sides of the border.

Tony Blair and the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, are
due in Armagh in Northern Ireland tomorrow to launch a new
initiative aimed at restoring the Northern Ireland Assembly
and eventually putting together a coalition to include Sinn
Fein and Unionists. But, if the IRA is shown to be
responsible, the ambition of the British and Irish
governments to put together a new cross-community
government will be in ruins, as Unionists will refuse to
share power with Sinn Fein.

Certainly the Rev Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic
Unionists, will be making no conciliatory move until the
question of the Donaldson killing has been answered. He
expressed scepticism at the IRA denial and said the killing
could hinder progress.

"This has put a dark cloud over those talks," he said. "If
this man has been murdered because of his connection with
IRA/Sinn Fein and because of the past happenings, then it
strikes a blow at what the two governments are trying to do
- to say that the IRA has forsaken these ways and they are
seeking peace."

Donaldson, who was 56, was found by Irish police who broke
down the door and found his body at about 5pm yesterday. He
had gone into hiding in December after being exposed as a
security force agent, admitting he had worked for Special
Branch for 20 years. He was interrogated by Sinn Fein
activists and then apparently told he was free to go. The
Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, who said at the time that
Donaldson had not been under threat from the republican
movement, condemned the killing.

Last month Donaldson was tracked down by the Sunday World
to a Donegal cottage. The cottage, which was described as
being barely habitable, with no electricity or running
water, was pictured in its issue of 19 March. Donaldson,
who looked thin and dishevelled, told the paper in an
interview: "How did you find this place? You don't see much
of anyone here, not even the gardai. They've been up and
down past there but they never came in. I'm not hiding, I
just want to be left alone. I don't go anywhere. I don't
want to be in touch with anyone. As you can see, I'm in the
middle of nowhere."

As months have gone by since his unmasking, the assumption
has grown that the IRA had decided not to move against him.
Many in its ranks harboured feelings of betrayal and hatred
but everyone knew that his assassination would set back,
probably for years, Sinn Fein's hopes of getting back into

The possibilities also exist that he was killed by
individual members or ex-members of the IRA, or by a
breakaway republican dissident group.

In recent years Donaldson had been an important apparatchik
within Sinn Fein, but he was previously a senior member of
the IRA in Belfast for many years. Some of those he served
with in the IRA may hold him personally responsible for the
jailing of IRA members or even for the deaths of people at
the hands of the security forces.

The journalist Hugh Jordan, who found Donaldson in Donegal,
said last night that he did not think the informer believed
his life was in danger. He said: "He looked like a hunted
animal. He was extremely depressed. The nerves in his eyes
were trembling. He seemed like a man who didn't think he
would come to any harm. He did not see his life to be in
any danger, but felt the only future he had was where he
was, living in that dreadfully squalid situation. It's
desperate that something like this happened. He was alone
and threatened no one. He was no harm to anybody."

Three years ago another security forces agent, Freddie
Scappaticci, was unmasked within the IRA in Belfast but he
was allowed to go free. He is thought to have moved to

Donaldson appears to have felt that he too could escape
death at the hands of the IRA or individual republicans.
Certainly he stayed on at his cottage even after its
location became public knowledge, a sign that he judged
himself safe. But it was a misjudgement, and one that cost
him his life.

A dangerous life

4 October 2002 Ex-IRA volunteer Denis Donaldson, Sinn
Fein's head of administration at Stormont, and two others
arrested and accused of spying for Sinn Fein. Unionists
threaten to withdraw from executive, forcing British to
suspend devolution.

8 December 2005 Charges of spying against the three dropped
"in the public interest".

16 December 2005 Donaldson expelled from Sinn Fein after
admitting he has been a paid British agent for two decades,
though he denies spying at Stormont. He flees Belfast. Sinn
Fein leader Gerry Adams denies he is under threat from

19 March 2006 Donaldson tracked down by Sunday World
journalist Hugh Jordan to a rundown cottage near Glenties,
Co Donegal. He says he was sacrificed in a failed attempt
by the security services to preserve the career of the
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble.

4 April 2006 Donaldson found shot dead at his cottage, with
police sources saying his hand has been severed. IRA denies
involvement, but political furore erupts.


Liamy McNally On The Matters Of Fact And The Facts Of The

De Facto

Opin: The Shark-Infested Euro Con

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the
waters of reason another fin from the Euro Con shark rises
sharply out of the water - the European Constitution – it
hasn’t gone away you know. We all thought it was with
O’Leary in the grave, but no amount of true republicans can
counter the depth of bruised Euro egos, as displayed by so
many leaders within the Gang of 25. Yes, Europe is now 25
members strong, getting older and putting on more weight –
the broad mind and narrow waist exchanging places.

Ireland now finds itself a much smaller fish in a much
larger pool where the bigger fish feed first. The ‘might is
right’ brigade looms large, always forgetting that without
the small fish, large fish cannot survive. Every sensible
shark knows that! Every animal on the African plains is
aware that without the tiny termite the balance would be
skewered and eventually break down. Europe is no different.
Small countries not only have been the backbone of its
existence, they still are. The Euro drones will claim that
countries like Ireland have been major beneficiaries from
the EU. That depends on which way you look at it. Yes,
Ireland has received billions, even if some of it was
shrouded in the cheapskate claims of a ‘political deal’.
Ireland has given billions more than it ever received.
Those who dispute this will want to argue their case in
hard cash principles. There is more to life than the
currency of filthy lucre.

The fish myth

Tom Prendiville had a most interesting article in Daily
Ireland on Wednesday of last week entitled ‘Statistics Blow
Myth of Ireland as EU Beneficiary’. He wrote: “Official
European Union statistics reveal that Ireland’s past image
as one of Europe’s largest financial beneficiaries is
largely a myth. Statistics indicate that, year on, year
off, Ireland has consistently been one of the biggest net
financial contributors to Europe as a result of fish
supply. Official figures from the EU’s statistical
gathering agency, Eurostat, reveal that Ireland is second
only to Germany as an indirect contributor to EU coffers.
Although Ireland did well in extracting almost €40 billion
in transfer funds from the EU, the fish extracted from
Irish territorial waters has been worth almost €200 billion
in comparison…

“The most important fishery in Europe are the seas west of
Ireland, the so-called Irish Box, which produce over 40 per
cent of all the edible fish consumed in Europe. In monetary
terms, the seas off Ireland are worth €8 billion a year to
the EU. Every year, roughly two million tonnes are fished
in Irish coastal waters. However, Ireland’s share of the
catch is miniscule and therein lies the current
difficulties. While Ireland produces 40 per cent of the
edible fish, the country’s fishermen are only entitled to
catch less than ten percent of that. The rest is fished by
foreign trawlers. In recent weeks, the Government has been
involved in a showdown with Irish fishermen, some of whom
have been flaunting the conservation quotas. Meanwhile, in
the midst of the acrimonious dispute, ten Dutch factory
ships, each one the size of Croke Park, have been hoovering
up fish with apparent impunity in international waters 12
miles off the coast near Cork…”

The Euro Con myth

The European Constitution is still swimming close to the
surface, alongside the myth of ‘Beneficiary Ireland’. It is
being whispered about in the hushed tones of the EU’s
leaders, those who think they have power. Even without
signing the death warrant that is the Euro Con, serious
questions must be asked about our so-called independence,
our much-valued freedom and our oft-praised sovereignty.
For the record, ‘approximately 70% of the legislation
passing through the Dáil now originates from the EU’ (Sinn
Féin European Department document, ‘Putting Democracy at
the Heart of the EU’). There is one Irish member on the 25
member non-elected EU Commission, which proposes the
majority of EU laws. That equates to 4%. Ireland has one
Minister on the 25 member EU Council of Ministers – 4%.
Most EU laws are adopted by qualified majority vote on the
Council of Ministers. Under this system Ireland has 7 votes
out of 345 – or 2%.

How about the elected members of the EU? They are the MEPs,
elected members of the European Parliament. Mr Anthony
Coughlan, (Secretary, The National Platform EU Research and
Information Centre, 24 Crawford Ave., Dublin 9, 018305792)
has interesting information on the EU in ‘Eurofacts
Bulletin’, which is issued for public information from time
to time. “The European Parliament can propose amendments to
draft laws from the EU Council of Ministers, but it cannot
have these amendments adopted without the agreement of the
Council and Commission, and it cannot itself initiate any

Ireland (Republic) has 13 members out of 732 in the
European Parliament, 2%, while the North has three MEPs.
From 1800 to 1921, as part of the Commonwealth, Ireland had
100 MPs out of 600 in the British Parliament, of which over
70 were Nationalists. That gave Nationalist Ireland 12% of
a say at Westminster! That was not enough for us as Irish
people. We were unhappy with ‘majority rule from London’
and aspired to our own Parliament in an independent

Today, non-Irish people in Brussels make the majority of
Irish law and a European Court can fine the Irish
Government for breaking EU laws. And we think we live in a
‘democracy’. We have lost our right to sign trade treaties
with other States because of the EU. The European
Commission now carries out this function for all the member
states. Our sovereignty is swallowed up under the guise of
‘commonality’. We are now part of a ‘common’ market, a
‘common’ travel area, ‘common’ interest rate, ‘common’
currency exchange rate and drifting deeper and deeper into
the ‘common’ waters of foreign policy, defence, crime and
matters of justice.

The EU Court of Justice recently ruled: “The EU can adopt
supranational criminal sanctions such as fines,
imprisonment or confiscation of assets for breaches of EU
law by means of majority vote.”

In essence this means that we can be found guilty for what
we believe is not a crime! Before we joined the EEC in
1973, Article 15 of the Irish Constitution stated: “The
sole and exclusive power of making laws for the State is
hereby vested in the Oireachtas; no other legislative
authority has power to make laws for the State.”

The patriotic myth

Over the Easter the green sashes will be dusted down and
donned by perfectly clad heart-filled Republicans, glancing
and dancing their way across the sightlines of the GPO,
laying claim to a heritage that they have betrayed over and
over again. After the most recent EU summit meeting The
Irish Times reported that An Taoiseach said Ireland would
now probably not hold a referendum on the EU Constitution
until after the French election next year. He said he
thought there would be an EU constitution in the future,
although it may not be called a constitution.

WB Yeats has the final word:

“Yet they were of a different kind
The names that stilled your childish play,
They have gone about the world like wind,
But little time had they to pray
For whom the hangman’s rope was spun,
And what, God help us, could they save:
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.”


Dublin Calendar Of Events - Easter 1916-2006

Published: 4 April, 2006

Friday 31st March -- Launch of 12 page Special Easter
Commemorative Edition of Dublin News. 110,000 copies will
be delivered door-to-door between now and Easter.

Thursday, 6th April - Relaunch of James Connolly's
"Socialism Made Easy".
Cobblestone Bar, Smithfield, 8pm
Speakers -- Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, Cllr Larry O'Toole and
Noel Murphy, National Secretary IWU. Traditional music and
ballads and readings from Socialism Made Easy.

Friday, 7th April -- Ballymun Sinn Féin Easter Function
Penthouse Bar, Ballymun with music by the Irish Brigade
Doors open at 8.30pm and Táille - €8

Sunday, 9th April -- 1916 Historical Walking Tour As
Gaeilge. Meeting at GPO @ 12.00pm.

Sunday, 9th April -- Showing of Hunger Strike film H3 to
coincide with 25th anniversary of Bobby Sands' election as
MP for Fermanagh -- South Tyrone

Irish Film Centre, Eustace Street, Temple Bar at 2.30pm
Former H-Block prisoners' speakers
Táille - €5

Monday 10th April -- Dublin Launch of the Easter Lily
Central plinth at the GPO, 12.00pm

Monday, 10th April -- Public Meeting -- Countess Markievicz
Memorial Lecture
Theme: Women and the Irish Revolution
Madison Bar Rathmines, 8pm
Speaker: Martina Anderson ex-POW

Tuesday, 11th April -- 3rd Annual James Connolly Memorial
Theme: 1916-1981 The Unbroken Connection
Speakers: Former hunger striker Dr Laurence McKeown and
Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Wynns Hotel, Abbey Street at 8pm

Wednesday, 12th April -- Showing of the play, "The Blanket"
Ar an Phlúid, (On The Blanket) tells the story of the
Blanket protest from the perspective of one man — Kieran
Nugent, the first H-Block prisoner to refuse to wear a
prison uniform after the ending of political status in
March 1976.
ATGWU Hall Middle Abbey Street
Táille - €10

Friday, 14th April -- 1916 Walking Tour. Meeting at GPO at

Friday, 14th April -- Arbour Hill Commemoration.
Assemble at 2.30pm at the gates of Arbour Hill Cemetery.

Friday, 14th April -- Annual Hunger Strike Memorial Trophy
5 a side Soccer tournament
Eamonn Ceannt Park, Sundrive Road, Crumlin at 12.00pm.
Contact 086 8694689 for further details

Saturday 15th April -- Unveiling of Plaque to Fian Seán
Healy -- aged 14 killed during Easter Week 1916 -- assemble
@ 11am at Doyles Corner, Phibsboro

Saturday, 15th April -- Annual Republican Easter
Assemble at 1.30pm at the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell
Speaker: Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP

Saturday, 15th April -- Annual Sinn Féin Átha Cliath Dinner
Royal Dublin Hotel, O'Connell Street, 8pm
Contact 01-8726100 for tickets

Sunday, 16th April -- Wreath laying ceremony at Glasnevin
Assemble at 11.00am at the gates of Glasnevin Cemetery.

Sunday, 16th April -- Annual Ballyfermot Republican Easter
Assemble at 12.00pm at Upper Ballyfermot Road (Sinn Féin
Office) and march to Countess Markievicz Park.

Sunday, 16th April -- Annual Eamonn Ceantt Crumlin
Republican Easter Commemoration
Assemble at 3.00pm at Errigal Field (back of Childrens
Hospital) and march to Eamonn Ceannt Park.
Refreshments afterwards in the Transport Club.

Monday, 17th April -- Annual Dún Laoghaire Republican
Easter Commemoration
Assemble at 2.30pm at Bakers Corner and march to
Deansgrange Cemetery

Monday, 17th April -- Annual Asgard Howth Republican Easter
Assemble at 3.00pm at the East Pier


Book Studies Ireland's Soaring Suicide Rates

There has been a seven-fold increase in the number of
people dying by suicide in Ireland over the last 50 years,
a new book revealed today.

Suicide now claims more lives than road accidents with 457
people taking their own lives in the Republic in 2004.

It is the number one cause of death in males aged between
15 and 24. In 1980, 27 young men aged between 15 and 24
died by suicide. It had more than quadrupled by 1998 with
114 young males killing themselves.

The book - Suicide: Ireland's Story - revealed there was a
seven-fold increase in the number of deaths by suicide in
the Republic between the early 1960's and the first decade
of this century.

Ireland has the fifth highest rate of youth suicide in the
EU - with men accounting for 80 per cent of the deaths.

Author Emily Cox warned the huge increase in the rate of
youth suicide was a symptom of the huge pressure young
people face in the new Celtic Tiger society.

"In 1998 we recorded the highest rate of suicide ever in
this country - 514 people died by suicide. This was the
height of the Celtic Tiger and there was huge economic
growth," said Ms Cox.

"Teenagers and young people can feel quite worthless in a
society that increasingly determines an individual's sense
of self-worth in terms of wealth, success and image. Young
people can be quite bewildered and there can often be the
added challenges of peer pressure and even bullying."

Ms Cox said the key to preventing suicide was to raise
awareness and encourage people to seek help for their
problems. "People who die by suicide don't want to die,
they just feel they can not bear the pain," she said.
"There is always help out there, no matter what the problem
is. Share your problems, talk to family and friends or
professionals. You are not alone with your problem, no
matter what it may be; debt, loneliness, bereavement."

Organisations like Aware or the Samaritans (1850 60 90 90),
can help people find a solution.

© The Irish Times/


Death Of Maritime Historian de Courcy Ireland

The death has been announced of leading maritime historian
Dr John de Courcy Ireland.

He died in a Dublin hospital last night after a long
illness. He was 94.

Dr de Courcy Ireland was accomplished author, linguist and
teacher. He received a number of international awards for
his work on maritime history.

An honorary research officer for the Maritime Institute, he
was decorated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
for his 25-year association with the Dun Laoghaire

He contested the 1982 general election as a member of the
Democratic Socialist Party, supported Democratic Left and
latterly the Socialist Workers' Party.

The Labour Party's Eamon Gilmore said his former Democratic
Left colleague was a "great champion" of the sea.

"More than any other individual he reminded this country
that we are an island and that we should never neglect the
sea and our maritime tradition," the Dun Laoghaire TD said.
"John was a socialist activist all his life, campaigning
for equality, peace and human rights. He was a regular,
passionate speaker at many political events."

© The Irish Times/


Bus Safety Rules May Be Extended After Boy's Death

Alison Healy, in Tullamore, and Liam Reid

The Government is to examine the possibility of extending
new safety regulations to include all buses carrying

This follows yesterday morning's school bus crash near
Clara, Co Offaly, in which a 15-year-old boy was killed.
The bus overturned on a straight stretch of bog road
between Clara and Rahan just before 8.30am on its way from
Clara to Killina Presentation Secondary School, near Rahan.
No other vehicle was involved.

More than 30 students were travelling on the bus, which was
hired privately by their parents to take them to school.

Because it was not part of the State's school transport
scheme, it was not covered by the new regulations
introduced by the Government after last year's Meath school
bus crash in which five teenagers died.

Under these regulations, the so-called "two-for-three"
system of three pupils sitting on two adult seats is being
phased out, and buses in the scheme must have seatbelts
fitted by December this year.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil that these new
regulations did not apply to buses hired privately by
parents, but the Government would now look at this.

A spokesman for Minister for Transport Martin Cullen said
the Minister favoured introducing similar requirements on
passenger numbers and seat-belts for private buses carrying

A total of 33 students and the bus driver were taken to
hospitals in Tullamore and Mullingar. Five students and the
driver were still detained last night. Two students were
recovering from surgery for glass lacerations while the
other patients were being kept under observation.

The boy who died in the crash was named as Michael White,
the only son of Michael and Martina White, who also have a
12-year-old daughter, Ciara. The family run White's pub on
Main Street, Clara.

The 1989 Mercedes Benz private hire bus had travelled a few
kilometres from Clara when the crash happened on the narrow

The bus overturned and was on its roof facing in the other
direction when the emergency services arrived. The back
axle lay in the ditch on the other side of the road. The
bus was not fitted with seatbelts.

All public service vehicles are required to pass a
Department of the Environment roadworthiness test annually
and it is understood that the bus had passed this test in
the last couple of months.

Private buses are commonly hired by parents if their
children do not qualify to be taken to school on a
Department of Education-funded bus.

© The Irish Times

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