The London Independent’s Ireland correspondent is in no doubt, that this was a quinntessential killing of an informer in the time honoured, if ghastly, way.
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.
He spoke to the Sunday World journalist who interviewed Donaldson a few weeks back:
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.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty