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Bloody Sunday, election, Irish, Ireland, British, Ulster, Unionist, Sinn Féin, SDLP, Ahern, Blair, Irish America

Noraid chief warned SF about Donaldson

(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

Former Noraid publicity director, Martin Galvin, warned the Sinn Féin ard comhairle about Denis Donaldson's behaviour around 15 years ago.

Galvin told the Sinn Féin leadership he had "serious doubts" about Donaldson's judgement and strategy but his concerns were instantly dismissed.

"I was told that Donaldson's credentials were impeccable, that he was beyond reproach, and that he had the full confidence of the Sinn Féin leadership in Ireland," Galvin told the Sunday Tribune.

"Donaldson had taken an interest in Irish-America from the late 1980s and was sent over to run the Noraid office in New York. Almost from the moment he got there, he was a negative influence.

"He created trouble, he made bad recommendations about genuine people, he attempted to undermine supporters with traditional republican credentials and he pushed those with reformist politics on the North."

Galvin said Donaldson had been sent with the "full endorsement" of a senior Sinn Féin leader whom he refused to name. "Given the importance of Irish-America to the British at that time, it was a great posting for Donaldson. He had access to all our strategy documents, to our political contacts, and to details on all the money we raised.

"I began to notice how he tried to push out people who had hardcore politics and would be more likely to ask questions about strategy and even challenge Sinn Féin policy changes.

"He would say these people were no good, and he would push forward those who were far more malleable politically. He tried to undermine a very senior Belfast republican living in New York and also the sister of a dead INLA hunger-striker."

Unionists have called for a public inquiry into the Donaldson/'Stormontgate' affair. However, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness yesterday (Saturday) questioned the point of an investigation.

The DUP's Ian Paisley jnr said there were many questions to answer: "There was outrage when Brian Nelson's activities as a British agent in the UDA were uncovered.

"It was claimed by nationalists that through him, the security services decided that certain people lived and others died. We need to be told what information Denis Donaldson provided about IRA activities and what decisions were made on the basis of that information.

"We have had too much secrecy, it's time for transparency." Ex-Republican Sinn Féin vice-president, Des Long, who is also a former Sinn Féin ard comhairle member, said he wasn't surprised by the disclosure about Denis Donaldson.

He claimed the Belfast IRA leadership was told Sean O'Callaghan was an informer four years before it was publicly disclosed, but O'Callaghan remained in place. "Denis Donaldson is only the tip of the iceberg," Long claimed.

It is widely believed in security and unionist political circles that Donaldson was sacrificed by his British handlers to protect a more important mole who is both a senior Sinn Féin and IRA figure.

December 19, 2005
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This article appeared in the December 18, 2005 edition of the Sunday Tribune.

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