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Denis Donaldson murder: Widow speaks of ongoing pain as Police Ombudsman findings revealed

Alice Donaldson with her husband Denis. Picture from Jarlath Kearney
Barry McCaffrey

THE widow of Denis Donaldson has spoken for the first time about the ongoing pain of the former agent’s family following the release of a Police Ombudsman’s report into his exposure and murder.

The investigation found no evidence that the PSNI leaked information about the former Sinn Féin official's whereabouts prior to his killing in April 2006.

However, Marie Anderson did conclude that police should have carried out a further risk assessment when media reports revealed he was in hiding in a remote cottage in Co Donegal after being exposed as an MI5 agent.

Alice Donaldson said last night: “Denis was the love of my life. His murder was so wrong. It has devastated our family. I miss him every minute of every day.”

Mr Donaldson’s family met the ombudsman yesterday about their complaint that police had failed to properly protect him.

Her report did not find evidence of police involvement or collusion in the murder, which was claimed by the Real IRA.

However, the family said Mrs Anderson confirmed that the PSNI had been guilty of a “corporate failure” by not carrying out a threat assessment once the 55-year-old's whereabouts had been revealed.

Mrs Donaldson said while she welcomed this, "it is really little consolation to myself or my children".

She added: “I just want to thank those people who have stood with us over the last 16 years.”

Her daughter Jane also said it had been "a deeply harrowing and traumatising experience for our family".

“My daddy was a much-loved father, husband, brother and grandfather.

“In the last weeks of his life, he had to live with the stigma of admitting to his role as an informer.

“My dad had apologised to our family for the shame and hurt that was brought on us. He is the only person who has ever apologised to us for the damage and harm caused to our family.”

She questioned why her father had not been relocated by the state like other exposed agents.

And she said they had little confidence his killers will ever be brought to justice.

“We don’t believe that there has been an adequate Garda investigation. The inquest into his killing has been adjourned 25 times. My mother is still being refused a formal death certificate.”

She added that the state’s use of agents and informers during the Troubles was being ignored by governments and politicians.

“It has had a devastating impact on our family and hundreds of other families.

“The use of agents and informers, including to kill other agents and informers, was institutionalised in our society. It is the elephant in the room and no-one on any side wants to confront these issues."

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