Donaldson inquiry adjourned again

Coroner Dr Denis McCauley has warned that he must see progress in the Garda inquiry into the murder of Republican double agent Denis Donaldson within six months.

He agreed to further adjourn the inquest but wouldn’t go as far as the gardai sought – a minimum of nine months.

He explained that when a Supt or somebody ranking higher asks for an adjournment it must be given first time. But as it was the fourth occasion on which the Donaldson inquest was being adjourned he would expect an indication as to whether a prosecution is pending or is there serious progress in investigations.

A tricolour flew over the house where Donaldson was murdered in his remote home at Classey, Cloghercor, near Doochary, Glenties, Co. Donegal, on April 4th, 2006.

At his inquest in Letterkenny Supt Michael Finan said he would be requesting an adjournment and that continuing investigations had uncovered several important matters.

He was asked by the coroner: “You are acting with vigour?”

Supt Finan said: “Very much so.”

The coroner said: “I would adjourn for six months, but at six months I would need an update. You would have to give me a very good reason as to why you will not go forward at that stage”

Ciaran Shields, for the Donaldson family, said they would have no objection to a six-months adjournment but any further delay would be unacceptable, He said: “There is an area of investigation which needs to be explored and employed.”

He recalled that after more than four years the Northern Ireland family of Patrick Shanahan took a case to Europe and were given a financial reward in lieu of the inquest not being completed.

Donaldson(56), a senior Sinn Fein figure who headed his party’s support team at Stormont and who had been operating as a British spy for 20 years, was shot four times in the chest, face, arm and hand in the cottage, situated 8km from Glenties.

Thursday's inquest was adjourned until Thursday August 26th