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Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams speaking to the media at the National Ploughing Championships at Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly today. Sam Boal
Denis Donaldson

Gerry Adams rejects claims that he sanctioned murder of IRA double agent

Denis Donaldson was shot dead months after admitting in 2005 he had been an MI5 agent for more than 20 years.

Updated 2.10pm

A MAN WHO says he was a former IRA and Sinn Féin member who became a British agent has claimed Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams sanctioned the killing of Denis Donaldson.

He made the allegation to BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme last night.

Adams has strongly denied any involvement in the murder of Donaldson.

The Sinn Féin leader told RTÉ’s News at One that he “categorically” denied the allegations made against him.

“I was shocked and surprised when I heard about Denis Donaldson’s murder,” said Adams.

He criticised the BBC broadcast for airing what he called “unsubstantiated allegations from an anonymous person”.

“I think is very, very low journalism indeed.”

Earlier, Adams told radio station LMFM: “There is an attempt here to re-write history.”

File Photo Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has denied sanctioning the murder of a British spy in the IRA. The allegation about the 2006 killing of Denis Donaldson was made by a man who claimed he was also a paid state agent in the IRA. The man made a seri Former member of Sinn Fein and British agent Denis Donaldson who was murdered in 2006 in Donegal.


Asked about the claims in last night’s progamme, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he had received no indication of Adams’ involvement in the Donaldson murder – but said questions should be asked of his past.

“Clearly there are elements of Gerry Adams’ past that only he can explain,” he said.

Donaldson was shot dead months after admitting in 2005 he had been an MI5 agent for more than 20 years. He had worked for Sinn Féin as an administrator at Stormont, and was killed at a remote Donegal cottage in 2006.

In a statement, Adams’ solicitor told the BBC that the Sinn Féin leader “has no knowledge of and had no involvement whatsoever in the killing of Denis Donaldson”.

He added that Adams:

categorically denies the unsubstantiated allegation that he was consulted about an alleged IRA army council decision or that he had the final say on what had been sanctioned.

Adams Donaldson Adams at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin in 2005, when he outlined the reasons Donaldson was expelled from Sinn Féin.


A man who says he worked as an informer for the intelligence branch of the police told the BBC that Adams sanctioned the killing.

The former spy was in the IRA and Sinn Féin but cannot be identified because of fears about his safety. The informer told Spotlight that murders had to be approved by the political and military leadership of the IRA.

Days after the murder, the IRA said it was not involved in Donaldson’s death, but security sources have told Spotlight that intelligence received following the killing contradicted the IRA’s denial.

In a statement, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said the BBC Spotlight programme was “a collection of discredited conspiracy theories which relied on the claims of an anonymous paid liar and British agent.” He added:

The programme-makers have had no regard for the feelings of families of the victims of the conflict, including the family of Denis Donaldson.

Asked on RTÉ’s News at One programme if he plans to sue the BBC over the allegations made, Adams said he is reluctant to sue.

However, he said: “If my legal advisers tell me I have a case I will take a case.”

Additional reporting Christina Finn 

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