Questions arising…

This Donaldson story has the look of a news dump end of the week to it. We published at nearly twenty minutes to four on Friday afternoon, just before a press conference for a Belfast story took place in Dublin. It’s not surprising. Donaldson was considered one of the most senior players in Sinn Fein. And he’s been there long term, convicted for bombing as early as 1972 and part of Sinn Fein’s efforts to have hostage Brian Keenan released from his captors in Lebanon. We don’t know what the British security services know, but it’s hardly likely to be trivial.

His outing (last night?) follows that of Scappatici over two years ago, and reputed to be head of IRA’s internal policing unit. There are still allegations that he used his position to kill to protect other agents within the IRA. So far, that’s a count of two British spies in crucial positions in both the IRA, and Sinn Fein. It’s not inconceivable that there are still more beavering away inside the Republican movement.

Regarding the dropping of the Stormontgate, Blair’s Official Spokesman has said categorically, there was no political interference in this case from either himself or Hain. But it’s almost certain he was the beneficiary of the intelligence Donaldson was undoubtedly able to provide his government.

Questions we are unlikely to hear answers to:

– What information did he gather on the highly secretive decision-making process inside Sinn Fein?

– Has Donaldson got anything to do with the fact that the Chief Constable and Garda Commissioner are both certain that the IRA pulled the Northern Bank and other massive robberies?

– Or indeed, is this all a just big game of double, double bluff, played at the expense, primarily, of the public interest?

Keep watching this space for the next episode, coming at a time you least expect it.

Update: According to Sinn Fein, he’s been a spy for 20 years.

  • Mick,

    Your comments ring true because they are true.

    Sinn Féin is trying to bury the fact that it is riddled with informers throughout.

    The provos simply cannot be trusted. They are colluding traitors.

    Votáil SDLP- Collusion is no Illusion.

  • Pete Baker

    Interesting comments from the BBC’s Brian Rowan, Mick, in their updated report

    Security editor Brian Rowan said he believed Mr Donaldson was not the mole whose information prompted the police’s Special Branch to act in the Stormontgate affair.

    “My understanding is that the information that Special Branch had on that alleged IRA intelligence-gathering operation came from another source – not from Denis Donaldson and not from any of the others charged in connection with that case,” he said.

  • Mickhall

    I was just saying to a friend and colleague, just when the politics in the north gets to be as boring and corrupt as Essex County Council, something like this happens. As Mick implied this story is massive, it has countless tentacles to it. There is the political, the military, the security, the legal and we should not forget the psychological and human, Donaldson’s family if not involved must feel shattered and torn asunder. As too will many loyal members of SF, one cannot help thinking this is part of an onslaught, both north and south against SF, but then writing this proves my own point for unintentionally I myself have gone of on another tentacle.

    Any rational commentator is going to sit back and sift the evidence because few will be on the inside track. Can we now expect another period of people being wrongly named as touts, which happened after Freddie was first exposed, lets hope not. Is Donaldson at this moment negotiating a deal with the Sundays or a book publisher, there must be a hell of a story here. Or is he to be lifted out by British Intel to his very own version of the Italian Rivera. 20 years in the boiler room of Mr Adams kitchen cabinet and all the time an enemy within.

    Well done to the slugger team for keeping us informed [no pun intended]

  • Henry94

    “My undertanding is” is right up they with “Security sources say” as ways of opening a sentence that we can no longer take seriously.

  • Oh, Henry. Please.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, Henry that remains to be seen.

    The chiefest problem for Sinn Fein is that they are as secretive as the government.

    At the very least this continues what I described as the credibility vacuum of the last year, which proved distructive of SF’s political interest above all others.

    The government had Donaldson in the bag for twenty years, so can say what they like. Now we know they know what the Shinners know, a lot more of the mud will stick than stuck before.

    It’s a decidedly unhealthy situation. Transparency would be miles better. But I don’t see either of the parties involved plumping for that option.

  • Pete Baker

    The reason why those comments by Brian Rowan are interesting, Henry, is that it would explain how Denis Donaldson, if he was the well-placed informant that Gerry Adams claims.. for over twenty years.. got caught out in the raid.

    He would be a very important source to lose.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I was just thinking (a recipe for disaster)…

    When the Government denies political interference in the decision to drop the charges, maybe they aren’t lying. Isn’t it correct that if the DPP is informed that they’re prosecuting an agent/informer whose identity could be revealed by the prosecution, they’re obliged to ensure that the agent’s human rights are protected?

    In this case that might mean the “public interest” is actually the agent’s “human rights”, since informers are routinely shot by the IRA.

    Ironically, it may have been the decision to protect Donaldson that led to his identification, since dropping the charges is the usual way of protecting agents.

  • James Campbell

    As an infrequent contributor to Slugger and an SDLP supporter I have always ridiculed Sinn Fein supporters who cried “British propaganda….” to every negative stroy about Sinn Fein.
    I feel, therefore, that in light of the recent revelations about ‘stormorngate’ I owe an apology to those who maintained a jaundiced eye on the intentions and actions of the British government and its securocrats.
    I feel so angry that we have been duped into believing a lie. The SDLP, in good faith, entered into policing arrangements with the British government by supporting a supposed revamped PSNI. We in the SDLP took a risk on entering these policing structures and were repaid with a PSNI coup d’etat on a legitimate powersharing government.
    It’s sickening to hear Alex Attwood on TV tonight shouting about not ‘able to trust Sinn Fein’ – it seems that Sinn Fein are the ONLY people in this sorry mess who CAN be trusted.

  • Having thought long and hard about this, there’s only one thing me and my securocrat friends can say . . .

    Someone ought to pay Gerry for the amusement he gives us.

  • notmyda

    A stunning story with so many angles.

    The personal one is my favourite. If he set up ‘Stormontgate’ he set up his son-in-law and daughter.

    What a movie.

  • “They are colluding traitors.

    Votáil SDLP- Collusion is no Illusion.”

    I do hope you run with that as your next election slogan, it will prove as sucessfull as your “Stop the DUP” balloon launch.

    Times like these normally bring the filth out, it has been proved to be so!

  • niall

    I don’t know what to believe.

  • Times like these normally bring the filth out, it has been proved to be so!

    The only filth here is the stench of Sinn Féin/ British collusion. Disgusting, stomach wrentching stuff.

  • Yer Woman

    Are you SUR Donaldson is an informant?

    I’m finding this all so hard to believe as I was a Student Intern at Stormount as part of my udergrad Degree, and Donaldson was one of the people to give me the time of day. He spoke that passionately about his party that I was near coverted myself (stress the “near” now!).

    It can’t be him???

  • victor1

    Denis Donaldson, TRAITOR, BETRAYER has had his hands on the murcky executions of so called informers for the last 20yrs, Denis as a person is a diminutive creature which gives credence to the saying LOWER THAN A SNAKES BELLY your down there Denis a low life!

  • Yer Woman

    Seriously – other than being named by the head of the party – why would it be him? He’s got soooooooo much to loose?

  • victor1

    yer woman….if he could con the Republican movement for over 20yrs don’t you think you could be decieved also ? Denis is a lowlife with little concern for anyone but his own self preservation he even ruined his own daughters life implicating her poor unfortunate husband to save his own sorry skin!!

  • kate

    This is just soooooooo sickening!!!How could anyone vote for SF now????? The old questions arise, have they been led down the road to Stormont with the hand of the British at Adams elbow?? The answer has to be a resounding yes.

    OMG I’m going to be sick

  • TAFKABO

    Ah come on now, surely you have to recognise that the Shinners have made great strides since the Brits were running the show?

  • heck

    You couldn’t make this stuff up!!! How do we know there aren’t British agents manipulating the SDLP into supporting the RUC? This is clearly something that a lot of their supporters disagree with and has cost them electoral support.

    How do we know that certain journalists aren’t British agents working to put a pro British spin on the news to further British interests? There are one or two that I strongly suspect!!!

    How do we know that British intelligence does not have agents within the alliance party that they can then appoint to “independent” bodies and then manipulate them?

    How do we know there are not British intelligence assets within the DUP and UUP?

    Maybe it’s my suspicion of Perfidious Albion but I think the only reason we know about this one is because SF is the only party who investigates its members. (There might even be a spy or two blogging on sluggerotoole!!! (anybody want to confess?)

    Is there anyone who seriously doubts that the mccarthy family’s tragedy was manipulated by the Northern Ireland office and foreign office to help Durkin at the last election? If journalists looked into the sisters invitation to the White House instead of repeating stories from “security sources” we might start to see how we are all manipulated by the establishment. (How about a freedom of information request to see who recommended this visit?) .

    Northern Ireland is a hall of mirrors and one should always be skeptical. Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you!! One should also question the ethics of the central government secretly manipulating political parties. Does’nt that make the concept of local northern Ireland democracy invalid.

  • TAFKABO

    Is there anyone who seriously doubts that the mccarthy family’s tragedy was manipulated by the Northern Ireland office and foreign office to help Durkin at the last election?

    It’s the McCartney family.

    Your use of the name McCarthy is the funniest freudian slip of the day……….so far.

  • Alan

    I must say that I found Donaldson a very personable character.

    What I do not understand from Adams’ chronology is why, if Donaldson was an informer, he went to a senior SF individual to raise the issue once he had been told he was to be outed ( and outed by whom?), which then led to a SF interrogation?

    He would not have been the agent who broke the spy ring story, as that would have compromised his own position.

    So, do you accept that the spy ring was the figment of a securocrat’s imagination, despite the existence of lists of names, or do you accept that SF want to close the book on the existence of that second, highly ranked informer?

  • heck

    TAFKABO

    tell your handler I appologise for the spelling mistake

    (that was a joke–I’m not accusing you!!)

  • concerned

    This is a really bizarre story, its hard to know which conspiracy theory is closest to the truth, I suspect there is one hell of alot more to come out about this. Wonder if Donaldson will ever open his mouth to illuminate us any…although I rather suspect he’ll be fleeing the country after this.

  • Gerry Adams

    Denis, you have been a bad bhoy. We, in Sinn Fein, do not take kindly to the criminals within our own ranks performing intelligence operations for ouside organisations, especially if they are Brits. Please meet me outside the Felons Club in the west and wear short trousers if you don’t want the long ones ruined.

  • I never trusted any bastard called Donaldson!

  • Henry94

    Seanno

    Donaldson should be shot and dumped! And that goes for any other tout/informer that they find out about.

    I have a better idea. Let’s build a mass democratic movement where spying and infiltration can’t do any damage.

    Let Donaldson be the living proof that the war is over.

  • victor1

    He regrets the hurt he’s caused to his family and his comrades!! yet 2 days ago he stood in Stormount with a cheesy grin along side Adams????the lowlife snake regrets getting caught thats all!!! He should have been >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • Henry94

    In a statement on Friday, Mr Donaldson said: “I was a British agent at the time. I was recruited in the 1980s after compromising myself during a vulnerable time in my life.

    “Since then I have worked for British intelligence and the RUC/PSNI Special Branch. Over that period, I was paid money.”

    Mr Donaldson said the “so-called Stormontgate affair” was “a scam and a fiction invented by (police) Special Branch”.

  • Concerned

    Bertie Aherne ain’t convinced it seems, just on bbc news.

    In the unlikely event the shinners are actually telling the truth the fact they have lied and been caught lying and spinning so many times before means no-one trusts them. Its like the little boy who cried wolf…

  • victor1

    The only wolf in this sorry affair is the BRITISH

  • victor1

    I can’t believe this wee bastard posed with Bobby Sands in prison and watched him and his comrades die on Hunger strike at the hands of the Brits while all the while working for the very same murderous administration………….

  • The DEEZER

    So has anyone got the dirt on why Donaldson was originally “Compromised”…… ?

    not that i want to add fuel to the rumour mill, like.

  • It is interesting to look back and see how much the puppet masters dressed Donaldson up when he first appeared in Court;

    “Det Supt Roy Suitters said Special Branch officers had informed him that Donaldson was a member of the IRA’s “General Headquarter’s intelligence unit”. (see url).

    In the end of the day, however, this episode will do for Sinn Fein, what internment did for the Provisionals.

  • TAFKABO

    Could one of the mods edit the posts using foul language against individuals named in this story, as well as the veiled threats.

    Those days are over bhoys, get used to it.

  • The Deezer

    “Those days are over bhoys, get used to it.”

    as Mr Adams says :

    “He said Mr Donaldson was not under any threat from the republican movement.”

    Get over it & move on.

  • James Campbell

    “In the end of the day, however, this episode will do for Sinn Fein, what internment did for the provisionals”
    It’s convinced me that Sinn Fein’s analysis of a coup by security elements in the British establishment to defeat the peace process is the correct analysis.
    I feel sick that so much hard work has been put by nationalists and republicans into trying to make a transition to a democratic and fair society
    only to be kicked in the teeth by perfidious albion and their unionist cohorts.It’s time the SDLP walked away from the rotten swill that’s the PSNI.
    Our only hope now is 51%

  • JIM

    Clearly the spirit of Ronnie Flanagan is alive and well within the PSNI.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s funny to see the chuckies posting under an assortment of different usernames. It’s also funny that they had an informer right under their very noses, and they didn’t have a clue about it. Further still, that same informer right now is telling his story – who knows how trustworthy it is ? How much of his story is truth, and how much is spun to try to save his own skin from certain punishment on the part of republicans ?

    Donaldson said : “Since then I have worked for British intelligence and the RUC/PSNI Special Branch. Over that period, I was paid money.”

    This stuff is explosive.

    I find myself having some difficulty understanding what is going on. If the PSNI had known about all of this why did they risk exposing their own agent by conducting the raids ? Was Donaldson really working for the PSNI, or was he working for MI5 ?

  • Henry94

    It certainly damages the prospects of any agreement on policing. Sinn Fein are not in a position to ask us to make that jump right now. It’s not Sinn Fein representation on the police board we need to worry about as much as police representation in Sinn Fein!

    Maybe we need to cool it a bit on restoring stormont. Clearly the other parties to this deal can’t deliver.

    If the institutions are unstable then any collapse will be blamed on republicans even though the people most opposed to the instituutions are clearly within unionism and within the security forces.

    It is arguable that the first discussion we need to have is with the people of the south about alternative structures and alternative modes of representation.

    My confidence in the Agreement is not high at this point.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Henry94, I think we all need to pull back. Certainly we need answers from the British about apparently why they had an agent at the centre of an alleged crime which resulted in the suspension of the assembly.

  • shamo

    “Let’s build a mass democratic movement where spying and infiltration can’t do any damage.” – Henry 94.
    Unfortunately, Henry, as laudable as this aspiration might be, it is extremely naïve. The concept that the British would not infiltrate a “mass democratic movement” is about as worthless as the idea that US intelligence wouldn’t bug Kofi Annan’s offices. This is why bombing economic targets has always worked.
    “I can’t believe this wee bastard posed with Bobby Sands in prison and watched him and his comrades die on Hunger strike at the hands of the Brits while all the while working for the very same murderous administration” – Victor 1. He didn’t. He became a tout later. Normally these things happen because people are filmed/photographed doing things they find extremely embarrassing (affairs, sexual ‘deviance’ etc. – not because they’re “bad people”). This poses questions of senior RM members, especially those with awful personal lives. People who, for instance, had two families on the go, both of whom didn’t know each other, and both of whom were told he was on ‘business’ while he visited the other. For instance.

    “It is interesting to look back and see how much the puppet masters dressed Donaldson up when he first appeared in Court; …’Donaldson was a member of the IRA’s “General Headquarter’s intelligence unit’” – Tai Cody
    Donaldson was WAS senior.

    I have expressed the opinion, mainly in response to the perspicacious Chris Gaskin, that my party of choice has become too autocratic, on this site before. Moreover, there are definitely more touts and the Brits are protecting them through carefully cultivating a controversy around Denis D (just as with Freddie Scap). There are more senior touts. These are people who negotiated GFA (as Donaldson did) and who are arguing for support to PSNI. There are also touts in SDLP. DUP and UUP, in Independent News and Media etc. The British have in the tens of thousands (according to official statistics) monitoring phones, email, internet and general media. They have, in a very Machiavellian manner, manipulated the peace process, but now see it as a threat.

    It is therefore incumbent on all of us to question their role – not least the UUP, who have been shafted by them. Who committed the Northern Bank robbery? Was Frank Connolly victimised? Is media independent? These are questions many of us have answered for ourselves. It’s up to others, now, to think…

  • Henry94

    CS

    Whatever misgivings we might have about Michael McDowell at least he’ll stab you in the front. I think a lot of people in the south who put a lot of work into the process are going to be wondering about the British now.

    Is it just some kind of game to them? I think it might be.

    I certainly think it is optimistic to expect anything like a straight answer from them.

    I’d like to hear something from Nuala O’Loan. She lent her credibility to this whole investigation. I’d like to here from Denis Bradley too. Does he still believe he is holding the PNSI accountable in any kind of meaningful way.

    I feel sorry for Denis Donaldson tonight to be honset. We’re not all brave and when the crunch comes who’s to know how they’ll go.

    Shamo

    Good points all. I can’t argue with any of it.

  • jimbo

    Donaldson may well have been an MI5 agent and therefore the Police may not have known who they were investigating until it was all a bit late and he was demanding release/release of a lot of incriminating stuff.

    It really lurches between high drama and high farce. The shinners have been well and truly caught with their pants down parading their hard done by victim one day and then expelling him as a Brit mole the next.

    You do have to have some kind of grudging admiration for someone who managed to worm his way to that height in the provos for just so long without a whiff of suspicion on their part. Anyone running a book on who the next provo tout is??? Gerry, Martin, or maybe all the assets recovery stuff against Slab Murphy will disappear when we find out that he’s actually a member of GCHQ staff!

  • Reader

    “Let’s build a mass democratic movement where spying and infiltration can’t do any damage.” – Henry 94.
    shamo: Unfortunately, Henry, as laudable as this aspiration might be, it is extremely naïve. The concept that the British would not infiltrate a “mass democratic movement” is about as worthless as the idea that US intelligence wouldn’t bug Kofi Annan’s offices.
    Surely that was the point – How about a political movement without secrets, that tells the truth to its own electorate and everyone else? There’s no point in spting on that sort of organisation.
    Can’t fault Henry94’s hopes, but as the farmer said to the lost tourist – “you don’t want to start from here…”. Maybe SF isn’t the best starting point.

  • shamo

    Jimbo,

    Caught with their pants down? Hardly, I think you misconceive the gravity of this issue. It is the British who will take the blow.

    Admiration? Try “simmering disgust”.

  • iluvni

    Sinn Fein’s Xmas bash is surely going to be a laugh this year, right enough.

    They should play ‘Truth or Dare’ round the table.

    Are you, or have you ever been, an informer?
    Martin, you go first….

  • shamo

    Reader,

    I wish I could share your optimism, but even Ghandi needed to be secretive. The British have easily infiltrated and destroyed many a mass movement for change. Try the miners under Arthur Scargill, or, look at Mark Thatcher’s supposedly mercenary (and unaided?) attempt at democratic politics in Africa (or Bloody Sunday). They are not amateurs. They destroy countervailing democratic movements very easily, and even moreso if they’re open to any and every mole.

  • TAFKABO

    And exactly what is it that the brits have done that is so wrong?

    From where I’m standing, they’d be failing in the duties if they hadn’t infiltrated the republican movement at the highest levels.

    Surely the fact that the Republicans have been manouvered into decomissioning their weapons and adopting soley democratic means is a good thing, no?

    The usual suspects are just smarting because the truth of their being outwitted by the brits is there for all the world to see.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Today’s Irish Times editorial puts it best I think:

    Questions remain about murky affair

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Shamo

    He didn’t. He became a tout later. Normally these things happen because people are filmed/photographed doing things they find extremely embarrassing (affairs, sexual ‘deviance’ etc. – not because they’re “bad people”

    Not because they’re bad people?

    This piece of filth didn’t just break under interrogation and spill his guts. He became a paid spy and informer for the last 20 years, 20 ****** years!!!

    I have been at meetings with this “man”, he presented himself as a dedicated republican and at that same moment he was selling his comrades and his country down the river for his 30 pieces of silver!

    At least Judas had the decency to hang himself after he betrayed both himself and Jesus.

    Donaldson however walked into Head office every day for twenty years and knew he had sold out his friends, family and comrades for money

    He is the lowest of the low!!!!

    He is very, very lucky that he wasn’t exposed 10 years ago.

    There are fellows out there who were shot for much, much less

    Donaldson should not be touched and he should be allowed to live where he does but for the life of me I can’t understand how this “man” can live with himself.

  • Shore Road Resident

    [Comment removed – SSR, you don’t need me to tell you why. Repeat performances will end in a ban – Mick]

  • heck

    gaskin,

    You weren’t around at the height of the troubles so you can’t appreciate the pressure Donaldson was under. (This is not to say he was right) so give the guy a break-he may be a tout but let it go. These guys have hundreds of years of experience, from India, Cyprus, Kenya, Burna, Aden, etc, of turning honest guys into traitors and touts. However this proves that the PSNI (RUC lite) is still an unacceptable police force. They are a threat to establishing a true democracy in Ireland and what happened with spygate shows that the sdlp should withdraw immediately from the police boards. Spygate was a coup, by faceless men, against an elected government The RUC needs to be brought to heel.

    It also shows the influence the security services have on Northern Ireland politics. The activities of the security services need to be investigated. The idea of Blair and Straw lecturing the Syrians is the height of hypocrisy.

    Direct your anger at these scumbags.

    As to Blair’s useful idiots on slugger who try and explain this away, remember that the security services infiltrated CND, tried to over throw the labor government of Harold Wilson, tried to frame a former Young Liberal chair for a bank robbery (sound familiar) and were engaged in assignations in Cyprus and Kenya. You could be next. These “securicrats” are dangerous.

  • “You weren’t around at the height of the troubles so you can’t appreciate the pressure Donaldson was under”

    This wasn’t just cracking once, this man has been a paid Brit informer for 20 years!!!!

  • shamo

    Chris, a chara,

    I share your anger. But:
    “This piece of filth didn’t just break under interrogation and spill his guts. He became a paid spy and informer for the last 20 years, 20 ****** years!!!”

    There’s a few in the Republican Movement, including a balladeer who shot at people at a bus stop (this should tell you who he is), who broke under interrogation and admitted it. The reason I say not “bad” people is twofold.

    1. Strategic: When the RM was desperately failing to catch touts it initiated a process whereby touts were told they would not be shot IF they came forward – this is why Donaldson would NOT be shot ten years ago – he eventually came forward (although this is not completely clear). Villification makes these people less likely to come forward – I’m hoping a few more moles may now see the light.

    2. Other high profile touts that were outed described, for instance, how they would not give info to the Brits while the IRA were doing what they wanted (not killing civilians), but after Enniskillen, or other such disasters, they would spill their guts all over again. They had some, twisted, idea that they were helping things (nerosis).
    They also receive a tokenistic monetary reward. The best touts are not the ones who receive a lot of money: people motivated by money in these things are likely to be pretty thick and capable of only low level info. High-level people are normally compromised: they have an affair, are gay in an intolderant society, they break and give minimal information, but are taped and told the tape will be sent to the RA. It’s an inch-by-inch incremental process. As they give more, the Brits up the ante and instruct them to move up ranks etc. They become ‘agents’, not mere touts. Therefore, it is incumbent on republicans to get them to out themselves before too much damage is caused – and this by threatening to shoot someone who may well find the truth worse than death.

    See him pictured beside Sands – he was a lifelong republican. The mental strain must have drove him mad.

  • victor1

    shamo, it didn’t drive him mad enough had it he would have done everyone a favour and topped himself!Your comments with respect to being compromised in regard to a particular sexual preference are spot on, thing is his partner at the time would also have been compromised….is there another can of worms to be released? Personally, and knowing the wee rat, it was purely his own selfish interest he was protecting with little regard for his Comrades, friends, neighbours and most important of all his very own Family! To his wife and family I would say forget him just as he forgot you!

  • Comrade Stalin

    This whole business stinks, but it’s really entertaining watching the angry chuckies express themselves on here. Victor1, shamo, James “I’m a stoop, honest” Campbell – please keep it up.

    The strategy among republicans seems to be to turn what is a highly embarassing case of infiltration into propaganda against the police. Donaldson is saying he was paid by Special Branch – but then again this is a man who has been lying about these matters for 20 years. Why would SB squander their own highly-placed mole ?

    More likely he was working for MI5 and the PSNI knew nothing.

  • TAFKABO

    I’m extremely dissapointed that it is deemed acceptable on Slugger to talk about any individual in the way that this man is being talked about.

    And as for the comments about persons being lucky they aren’t shot?

    C’mon Mick, I thought this place was supposed to raise the debate above such levels.

  • Brian Boru

    There was no spyring. End political-policing.

  • Henry94

    The strategy among republicans seems to be to turn what is a highly embarassing case of infiltration into propaganda against the police.

    I would say mildly embarassing. That there are British agents in every area of Irish life including the media is news to nobody.

    If the Republicam movement didn’t have strategies in place to minimise the damage an individual could do then they would have been out of business a long time ago.

    The only point that matters aboout this case is the political impact it will have.

    Will it stop the parties from agreeing to restore the institutions? probably. I don’t see how Sinn Fein can agree to go back into government and risk a similar police plot throwing us into crisis.

    Devolution must be out until we can have confidence in it. The all-Ireland agenda is the only way forward for republicans.

    The PNSI can not be acceptable now either. I had hoped we could get progress but I see no real prospect of that now.

  • Brian Boru

    Was he told by the Brits to plant evidence of a spyring?

  • jim

    Is there any point in getting Stormont up and running again ?

    Whats the point when the whole system is being run by the special branch.

    Sinn Fein need to seriously consider their support for any aspect of the failed administration in the North.

    The political path is clearly unworkable when it is being manipulated and controlled by the security services.

  • Keith M

    A truely bizarre story. I was waiting for the “Smelling of roses” thread to re-open for comments, but RTE’s take on the background to this story breaking is down to Ian Paisley’s new role as a Privy Councillor. Though largely ignored at the time, this position apparently entitles Paisley to see documents and have acess to information which he would not previous had. Keeping Donaldson’s position in place after the whole “Save Dave” fiasco was no longer tenable.

    The question now is did Trimble know all along that there was no spy ring, and that his jumping ship were simply to stop further humiliation for the UUP (which failed completly).

    The only heatening thing about this whole sorry episode is that at least MI5 are doing their job and if I was in SF/IRA right now I’d be looking over my shoulder and saying “who else?”

  • Seanno

    tafkabo

    You should spend less time informing to the MOD’s and worrying more about your actions.

  • The Thinker

    So the psni`s true colours have been exposed.The psni is operating outside the realms of law, a force onto itself, unaccountable and totally out of control.
    A police force run as a private tool for the intelligence community, a political police force.

    Yes some may try and bury their heads in the hope it dies down or goes away, some may even try and change the facts to suit their political ends but the facts are clear.

    The psni are nothing but the ruc in new clothes and still controlled but the force within a force the Special Branch.

    This is the final nail in the coffin for that small group within the Catholic community that was willing to gave the psni a chance.

    The Sdlp`s policing agenda is now dead in the water.
    The psni will not recover from this, Nationalists now know the psni/ruc is truely unaccountable and completely anti-Nationalist.

  • Seanno

    “The political path is clearly unworkable when it is being manipulated and controlled by the security services.”

    True Republicans have always known this!

  • yerman

    Chris Gaskin
    “He is very, very lucky that he wasn’t exposed 10 years ago.”

    Why?

    What would have happened to him then. Please tell us. Surely Sinn Fein would never have engaged in the summary justice of the IRA. They’re seperate organisations aren’t they????

  • yerman

    The ‘Thinker’
    “The psni is operating outside the realms of law,”

    Think on son – the PSNI hasn’t done anything wrong. Police forces all over the world operate informers. They’re quite at liberty to pay someone to give them info on any particular organisation. It might not exactly be ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ policing but its reality.

    Loyalist paramilitaries have been riddled with informers for years – its probably no surprise that Sinn Fein is no different.

  • missfitz

    Yerman
    Surely a differentiation needs to be made between the use of informants or agents and the deliberate manipulation of those individuals to effect a coup d’etat?

    A line needs to be drawn between securing a state and management by security.

    I really think that no matter which side one is on, this is an issue that should transcend party politics. It saddens me to see people trying to see what political advantage can be had from this without focusing on the horrific implications for all citizens.
    It seems that agents “of the dark” did not wish to see a power sharing executive continue, and they pulled the plug by setting up the Stormont raid. Like it or not, this was a duly elected government of the people and it is not in the gift of the police to make or take those decisions.

    I have supported the establishment of the PSNI from the outset, and was involved for years in the assessment centres. I could no longer support the police as it now exists, and think a major enquiry needs to be undertaken, driven by the objective of finding out the truth of this affair

  • toni

    “Think on son – the PSNI hasn’t done anything wrong. Police forces all over the world operate informers.”

    Are police forces throughout the world allowed to bring down democratically elected systems of govermment ?

  • “Why?

    What would have happened to him then. Please tell us. Surely Sinn Fein would never have engaged in the summary justice of the IRA. They’re seperate organisations aren’t they???? ”

    Did I say that Sinn Féin would do anything?

    At that time however I do not believe that he would have got off so easy.

  • 20 years? Around about 1984(scary) then, how far does the rabbit hole go?
    Shady figures, accountable to God knows who, appear to have brought down the democratic institutions of a province after preaching to the world that democracy is the way forward.
    I think the term ‘securocrat’ has just been given legitimacy, it appears the ‘insane’ people are those who laugh at its use.
    Please, i’ll live in a Republic with Michael McDowell as Taoiseach, just get me out of this sick place

  • Betty Boo

    Wouldn’t it be more practical to exchange McDowell then to get you out of there?

    Ps: I don’t know about his ambitions, but he is not Taoiseach yet.

  • Reader

    Chris Gaskin: This wasn’t just cracking once, this man has been a paid Brit informer for 20 years!!!!
    Far better to be an informer, if you’re in the IRA. It’s some sort of redemption, anyway. Twenty years, eh? Would you have hated him more, or less, if he had supplied information that prevented the Enniskillen bomb (1987)?

  • Reader

    Henry94: That there are British agents in every area of Irish life including the media is news to nobody.


    The PNSI can not be acceptable now either. I had hoped we could get progress but I see no real prospect of that now.

    If you always knew that there were agents everywhere, what has changed now that you have a name for one of them?

  • BTW

    1) I thought that Sinn Fein would have known better than to trust anyone called Donaldson, a famous turncoat name, sort of a modern day Lundy!

    2) There was some speculation that a certain Unionist leader was working for MI5 shortly after he left Ulster Vanguard, nothing was ever proven, but in some Unionist circles this leader was always viewed with suspicion.

    3) What if Gerry comes out in a couple of years time and exposes himself as a British spy? Well I suppose that would explain IRA decomissioning, recognition of the Northern Ireland state, sitting in the Northern Ireland Assembly (bring it back), etc.

  • TAFKABO

    Unionists working for the Brits?

    Who woulda thunk it?

  • interested party

    A friend i have who works for the Belly Telly says that they are actively researching the possibility that a certain former Lord Mayor may well be a Brit spy.