Friday, December 16, 2005


SF expel 'British agent' in Stormont row

This is an interesting one.

A top republican was thrown out of Sinn Féin tonight - after its leader Gerry Adams alleged he was
working as a British agent.

Denis Donaldson, 55, pictured left, is the party’s former head of administration but was expelled after an investigation by the leadership.

Eight days after he and two other men were cleared of spying charges inside Stormont, Sinn Féin announced he had been told to quit last night.

A statement from Mr Adams said: "The collapse of the power sharing government was blamed on allegations of a Sinn Féin spy ring at Stormont.

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

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

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

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

"This is entirely the responsibility of the British Government."

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman said: "Police do not confirm or deny whether an individual is or was an informant.''

In October 2002, Mr Donaldson, his son-in-law Ciaran Kearney and civil servant William Mackessy were arrested on suspicion of operating a spy ring at Stormont.

Republicans were left reeling today by the claims against Mr Donaldson, a popular figure within Sinn Féin.

In his statement today, Mr Adams criticised the use of informers and agents by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The West Belfast MP said: "What is clear is that there are those within the PSNI and the intelligence agencies who are a law unto themselves, who use informers, spies and agents and who are operating to their own agenda with no accountability.

"They are manipulating the situation for their own narrow ends. They have sought to undermine Sinn Féin and are working against the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement which is the publicly stated policy of the British and Irish Governments.

"The British Prime Minister and the Taoiseach have to wake up to this reality.

"Mr Adams said Sinn Féin had alerted the British and Irish Governments to the negative role in the peace process being played out by elements within the British system.

He continued: "If Britain’s war is over then the British Prime Minister needs to come to terms with the fact that he has to end the activities of the securocrats.

"This entire episode underlines the need for an end to political policing. That, and defending the Good Friday Agreement remains the focus of Sinn Féin."

Unionists said tonight they were astonished by the expulsion.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: "This has certainly given an added twist to the entire Stormontgate scandal, and confirms our view that the reasons the court decided not to prosecute was because to do so would have compromised an agent of the state and sensitive security documents.

"It also raises the question that the decision not to proceed was politically motivated."

Mr Mackessy, one of the three men cleared of the spying charges, once worked as a security man at the offices of Sir Reg Empey, then a minister in the powersharing executive at Stormont.
Sir Reg, now leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, said tonight he would be seeking an urgent meeting with Government officials.

Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Alasdair Fraser has declined to comment on the affair but Sir Reg said: "If this was the person who was being protected by the DPP, then there is no reason why these prosecutions cannot proceed.

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

I personally don't doubt for a minute that rogue members of British intelligence have tried to create difficulties here in the island of Ireland in the past.

Are they still up to their old tricks though? Who knows. I do however find Jeffrey Donaldson's comments above quite interesting in relation to the issue.

What are your thoughts on the whole scandal?


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