Did Denis Donaldson talk?

Interesting contradiction between some of the nationalist commentators on the Comment is Free blog. First of all, Niall Stanage works through the conspiracy theories about the Donaldson murder.

Northern Ireland is a strange enough place for any of those explanations to eventually be proven correct. But the truth is likely to be more prosaic. Most of the conspiracy theories ignore the fact that almost every party to the Irish conflict had an incentive to keep Donaldson alive.

An officially sanctioned IRA killing of the informer would hand the enemies of Irish republicanism a massive propaganda victory and dispatch Sinn Fein to political Siberia. By contrast, letting him live on in peaceful obscurity would seem to underline the Republican Movement’s bona fides in relation to the peace process.

The hypothesis that some shadowy intelligence agents killed Donaldson is built on the notion that he would have revealed more about British dirty tricks over time. But why would he not have let rip on that score immediately after his unmasking in a bid to mollify furious republicans? And why would securocrats kill a man whose continued existence sowed disorientation and paranoia in the Republican Movement’s ranks? (Niall Stanage, Comment is Free)

However, both Gerry Adams and Danny Morrison deny that Donaldson had talked in the way Stanage assumes:

Denis Donaldson was very unforthcoming about his activities. The party broke off all contact with him shortly after all this. He was told that if he wanted to make a full disclosure he should get in touch with us. He never did. (Gerry Adams, Comment is Free)

Denis Donaldson, for whatever reason, would not reveal to his former comrades how the British "turned" him into becoming an agent, nor the detail and extent of his betrayal. He was a liability and still had secrets about Stormontgate, amongst others: dangerous secrets which could potentially damage his British superiors. (Danny Morrison, Comment is Free)

If this is true, then it suggests protecting British covert operations could be a possible motive for the murder. The other main one being the traditional republican punishment for informers.

The British theory is not necessarily incompatible with any of the other possibilities, since most of them are organisations which one would expect to be infiltrated to a greater or lesser extent.

Given everything we’ve learnt about British covert methods in recent years, it’s surely impossible to rule out the possibility that somebody ‘refined the targeting’ of dissident republicans somewhere along the line.

Having said that, as Stanage points out, this was not a murder that would have required much organisation.






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