Return to Peace Process menu
Denis Donaldson - Death of an informer

5 April 2006

In assigning responsibility for the death of republican informer Denis Donaldson all the signs point firmly towards members of the IRA, acting without the sanction of their leadership.

Not that there is not a longer list of suspects. Denis had many enemies.  In fact, lurking alone in a semi-derelict cottage in a remote part of Donegal, he can be accurately described as a man without a friend in the world. The last person to offer him the hand of friendship was almost certainly the reporter who trailblazed the path to the cottage that the killers would follow. However few of his enemies would have had reason to make the trip to his door. The British had discarded him like a piece of trash and shown themselves indifferent to anything he might say. The unionists have a stranglehold on the political process and no need to stage incidents.  It is within the republican movement that the wounds caused by Donaldson’s activities still bleed.

If it turns out that his killers were republicans then they deserve a certain level of contempt. A killing that would have been justified as a necessary act in defense of a revolutionary struggle has no such justification when the republican movement is so firmly wedded to deals with capitalism and imperialism. One can sense the savage frustration of the military forces who have seen themselves disarmed and seen the promises of political change turn to dust, but the killing of Donaldson simply indicates their inability to wage a political struggle around the former republican programme.

It has been suggested that the killing was meant to prevent the republican leadership from signing up to a new assembly outside of the Good Friday agreement.  Yet again this indicates the total impotence of republican militarism and their inability to stage a political fight.

In any case the explanation is totally bogus.  Ian Paisley and the DUP have already indicated that the process has not been moved far enough to the right and that they will not agree to a new executive.  This mirrors earlier stages of the negotiations when actions said to involve Donaldson, such as the raid on Palace barracks and the Stormontgate affair, were used to blame republicans for the collapse of deal when the unionists had already pulled out.

In death, as in life, Donaldson is to serve as an alibi for unionist sectarian intransigence and the willingness of the London and Dublin governments to accommodate that intransigence.


Return to top of page