Dissident elements within the British security services are undermining progress made by the IRA during the peace process, Gerry Adams has warned.
As republicans reeled from revelations that one of Sinn Féin’s top aides at Stormont, Denis Donaldson, was a British spy since the mid-1980s, the party’s leader Gerry Adams arranged crisis talks tomorrow with Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain.
The move came as the British government faced mounting pressure for a House of Commons statement or public inquiry to explain the incredible series of events which led to the collapse of devolution in the North in October 2002 and the unmasking three years later of Mr Donaldson as a spy.
Mr Adams said tonight: “Following the historically significant initiatives by the IRA in recent months, a new opportunity has been opened up to make progress.
“The new year will see important efforts being made to restore the political institutions. All of this is at risk because of these dissident elements within the British system.
“The onus to stop this lies with the British government. It has to take whatever steps are necessary to rein in the wreckers who are opposing British government policy. And there has to be an end to political policing.”
In October 2002, Sinn Féin’s head of administration at Stormont, Denis Donaldson, his son in law, Ciaran Kearney and civil servant William Mackessy were arrested and accused of taking part in a republican intelligence gathering operation at Stormont.
Police Land Rovers swarmed Stormont’s Parliament Buildings as the Sinn Féin offices were raided.
The police operation resulted in unionists threatening to collapse power-sharing executive and the then Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid suspending devolution.
Power-sharing has not been restored since.
After a three-year legal battle, the Public Prosecution Service announced 10 days ago in Belfast Crown Court it was dropping the case against the three men because it was no longer in the public interest.
But in another sensational twist on Friday, Sinn Féin announced it had expelled Mr Donaldson after he confessed to senior party officials that he had been spying on his colleagues for 20 years.
The 55-year-old former prisoner and friend of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands read from a prepared statement in which he admitted that he had been a spy since the mid-1980s after being compromised in his personal life.
Sticking to Sinn Féin’s claims that there was no republican spy ring at Stormont, he said: “The so-called Stormontgate affair was a scam and a fiction. It never existed. It was created by Special Branch.
“I deeply regret my activities with British intelligence are RUC/PSNI Special Branch. I apologise to anyone who has suffered as a result of my activities as well as to my former comrades and especially to my family who have become victims in all of this.”
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain today disputed Mr Donaldson and Sinn Féin claims that the only spy operation at Stormont was being run by British intelligence.