Ahern: Gardaí warned Donaldson of threat

The Taoiseach has revealed this morning in the Dáil that gardaí warned former spy Denis Donaldson that his life could be under threat, before he was killed.

Bertie Ahern said: "Gardaí visited him in light of the public attention he had received. They advised him because of his circumstances that there was a perceived threat to his life."

"They advised him on personal security and on an on-going basis the house where he lived received passing attention."

Mr Ahern told the Dáil that he has no idea who was responsible for the murder.

Mr Ahern told Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny in the Dáil that gardaí visited Mr Donaldson’s home yesterday after receiving a 999 call from a member of the public who had noticed the door of the cottage where the former Sinn Féin official had been living was open.

They found Mr Donaldson’s body with two spent cartridges outside the house.

His right hand had been severed.

The Taoiseach, who is due to travel to Armagh tomorrow to unveil proposals with his British counterpart Tony Blair to revive devolution in Northern Ireland, described the murder as callous.

“I have no idea at this stage who would have been involved,” he said.

“I suppose because of the circumstances Mr Donaldson would have had plenty of people who would have had an interest in him in one form or another but whoever was responsible for this evil deed was certainly no friend of the peace process.”

He said the callous killing of the one-time Sinn Féin administrator makes political progress difficult, as it will be seized upon by opponents of the peace process.

The Taoiseach added that it is possible that certain elements are deliberately out to prevent the Stormont Assembly from re-convening.

He said this latest incident will test the resolve of the peace process.

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