3 October 2016 Edition
BBC Spotlight allegations against Gerry Adams ‘total rubbish’
‘A collection of discredited conspiracy theories relying on claims of an anonymous paid liar and British agent’
One Garda source described it as ‘A pile of c***’
ALLEGATIONS by a self-confessed, paid agent of British Intelligence that Gerry Adams would have had to sanction the killing of MI5 agent Denis Donaldson in Donegal in 2006 have been dismissed by critics, who point out that BBC Spotlight did not produce one iota of evidence to back up its sensationalist claims.
Gerry Adams has categorically denied all the claims contained in the programme on 20 September and the matter is now being studied by his solicitor.
Donaldson (55), from Belfast, was shot dead at an isolated cottage near Glenties in County Donegal in April 2006.
He had been living there following his exposure as a state agent the previous December, when he appeared at a press conference to confess he had been an informer for MI5 for more than two decades. He had been Sinn Féin’s head of administration at Stormont when his role as an agent for Britain’s Security Service was revealed.
In the wake of the shooting, the IRA immediately denied media speculation that it had shot Donaldson and Gerry Adams condemned the killing.
The so-called ‘Real IRA’ eventually claimed responsibility three years later, in April 2009, in an interview with Suzanne Breen in which a spokesperson revealed details of the murder that hadn’t been publicly revealed by An Garda Síochána.
“To prove the authenticity of their statement,” Breen reported, “the Real IRA had given details of the murder – such as the time of the shooting – which contradicted media reports.”
She added that although the claim was privately dismissed by Garda sources at the time, “detectives now accept it was true”.
The Garda murder investigation has followed that line of enquiry from the outset and has not changed.
BBC Spotlight reporter Jennifer O’Leary relied heavily on the unsubstantiated hearsay of MI5 agent ‘Martin’ and ex-RUC officers. Relatives for Justice noted that while former Special Branch commanders were happy to cooperate with BBC TV programmes, “they refuse to cooperate with the Police Ombudsman looking at same killings”.
Gerry Adams himself said of the BBC Spotlight claims:
“I specifically and categorically refute these unsubstantiated allegations.
“I will continue to support the family of Mr Donaldson to achieve truth and justice.”
Stating that the BBC Spotlight allegations are part of British security agencies’ ongoing attempts to smear republicans and cover-up their own actions, he added:
“There is a need for all these agencies to fully cooperate with the Police Ombudsman’s investigation into the role of the police in the events that led to the killing of Denis Donaldson and for the Gardaí to expedite their investigation to bring those responsible to justice.”
Martin McGuinness described the allegations against Gerry Adams as total rubbish.
“The fact is that anti-Peace Process republicans claimed responsibility for the killing of Denis Donaldson and An Garda Síochána have been investigating that line of inquiry for ten years," he said.
“The credibility of a paid agent, the old guard of the RUC who ran the intelligence war during the conflict, together with reliance on ‘sources’, is seriously questionable. For me they have no credibility whatsoever.”
Gerry Kelly MLA dismissed the programme as “a collection of discredited conspiracy theories which relied on the claims of an anonymous paid liar and British agent”.
After all the initial media hysteria, including a front-page splash by the Irish Independent and a regurgitating of the claims on succeeding days, the Belfast Telegraph (the Irish Independent’s sister newspaper) headlined three days after the BBC Spotlight fantasy:
“Donaldson murder: Police say Provos not to blame – ‘Genuine surprise’ at BBC allegations.”
• Denis Donaldson
It said that gardaí had ruled out any involvement by mainstream republicans in the murder of Denis Donaldson.
The Belfast Telegraph claimed that detectives on both sides of the Border knew within hours that the murder had been “set up and run” by a Real IRA leader in Derry, supported by sympathisers in Donegal.
“Intelligence gathered by the PSNI also ruled out any involvement by the Provisional IRA.
“This information was passed to gardaí investigating the case who have always focused their attention on dissidents.
“The repetition of this position yesterday by security sources raised questions about the claims of the former IRA man and British agent who told the BBC the IRA killed Donaldson. One Garda source described it as ‘A pile of c***.’
“A reliable security source in Northern Ireland also said there was genuine surprise the BBC Spotlight programme made the allegation.
“No one – and I mean no one – on either side of the Border believes this claim has an ounce of truth in it,” he added.
“The guards say it’s nonsense and the PSNI believe the same. The so-called Real IRA did this.”