Donaldson inquest adjourned again

An inquest into the murder of Republican double agent Denis Donaldson was further adjourned in Letterkenny  beyond an anticipated hearing date.

Coroner Denis McCauley had expected to fix a date for a full hearing but he said he was still unable to reach a decision on what kind of inquest to hold because of the arrival of late documents.

Another “pre-inquest” hearing has been fixed for May 5th before he can decide on a date for a full hearing.

It was the sixth adjournment of the inquiry into how Donaldson, 56, was murdered in his remote home at Classey, Cloghercor, near Glenties, Co. Donegal on April 4th 2006.

Garda Superintendent Michael Finan asked for a further adjournment because the criminal investigation was still active. He gave the coroner an assurance that he was not adopting delaying tactics.

The coroner told gardai and legal representatives of Donaldson’s family that he expected an exchange of documents before Christmas but he didn’t receive them until eight days ago.

He felt he needed more time to study them, and receive further submissions, before he could decide between fixing a “standard” hearing that would decide what killed Donaldson or a more extensive inquest under European law as sought by the family.

He said that even if the Supt had not asked for the adjournment they were nowhere near an inquest because he didn’t think he had enough information.

Donaldson, 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.