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File photo dated 9 December, 2005, of Denis Donaldson (centre) with Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams outside Stormount. Paul Faith/PA Archive/Press Association Images
Northern Ireland

Double agent's inquest adjourned for fifth time

Denis Donaldson’s family furious about further delays.

THE FAMILY OF MURDERED MI5 agent Denis Donaldson has criticised the decision to adjourn the inquest into his death for a fifth time.

Former Provisional IRA volunteer and Sinn Féin member Donaldson was expelled from the party in 2005 after admitting he had been a paid spy for the British government.

He subsequently left Belfast and moved to Donegal.

He was shot dead at his home in a remote dilapidated cottage in Glenties, Co Donegal, on 4 April, 2006. The Real IRA later claimed responsibility for his death.

Gardaí sought a further adjournment because of “substantial progress” being made in the investigation into his death.

Donaldson’s family questioned the gardaí’s claim that their inquiry is progressing, and their solicitor argued that further adjournments would be unlawful under the European courts.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that a failure to hold an inquest within four and a half years was a breach of international and human rights commitments, and the family which took that challenge were awarded compensation.

The Irish News reports that the solicitor for the Donaldson’s family, Ciaran Shiels, said that there appeared to be a pattern to the hearings. He said that each time the inquest opened, the family were informed there was a new development in the case.

The adjournment was granted, and the coroner set a date next month for parties involved to meet ahead of the next inquest hearing, which is scheduled for 27 January.

[caption id="attachment_15629" align="alignnone" width="511" caption="File photo dated 5 April, 2006, showing an aerial view of the dilapidated house near the village of Glenties, Co Donegal, where former Sinn Fein member and British spy Denis Donaldson lived and was murdered."][/caption]

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