Adams ‘must explain death penalty informer remark’

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams speaks to the media at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan near Tullamore, after he denied sanctioning the murder of a British spy in the IRA. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams speaks to the media at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan near Tullamore, after he denied sanctioning the murder of a British spy in the IRA. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

A unionist MLA has said Gerry Adams must clarify his past assertion that the penalty for being an informer is “death”, following claims that he sanctioned the murder of Denis Donaldson.

The Sinn Fein President’s comments were broadcast this week in a BBC Spotlight documentary, which aired allegations that he had sanctioned the murder of his former party aide.

Mr Donaldson was shot dead at an isolated cottage near Glenties in Co Donegal in April 2006 following his exposure as a British agent.

Spotlight carried explosive claims from a man, who said he was a former agent in the IRA, that Mr Adams had sanctioned the execution – something Mr Adams has denied.

Five minutes into this week’s documentary, a clip was played with Mr Adams speaking in the wake of the 1987 murder of west Belfast man Charles McIlmurray, who was shot as an informer by the IRA.

Speaking to camera, Mr Adams said: “Mr McIlmurray like anyone living in west Belfast knows that the consequences for informing is death”.

But UUP Justice Spokesman Doug Beattie called on Mr Adams to clarify if this was still his view on informers when Mr Donaldson was murdered - or to clarify when and why he changed his position.

“It’s interesting to see the statement from Gerry Adams five minutes into the Spotlight programme where he said [this] in reference to the murder of Charlie Mcllmurray,” the UUP MLA said.

“So the question is – was this a threat, a statement of fact, is Gerry Adams sorry he said that and what changed from that moment to when he said Denis Donaldson has nothing to fear from republicans when Donaldson came out as a HUMINT [human intelligence] source?

“I believe Gerry Adams has questions to answer and I believe that the PSNI have a moral obligation to investigate the Spotlight programmes findings as I believe the Garda has the same obligation to investigate this new evidence.

“Everyone knows that PIRA bled into the Real IRA and other dissident groups – they are in fact just one in the same.”

The PSNI is referring all inquiries about the documentary to the Garda, which is declining to comment on what it says is a live investigation.

BBC Spotlight claimed that security sources said they days after Mr Donaldson’s murder that it had been carried out by the IRA. However no state organisation ever made this information public.

Sinn Fein had offered no comment.