Security services 'wreckers' attacked by Adams

Click to follow

Dissident elements within the British security services are undermining progress made by the IRA during the peace process, the government was warned last night.

As republicans reeled from revelations that one of Sinn Fein's top aides at Stormont, Denis Donaldson, was a British spy since the mid-1980s, the party's leader Gerry Adams arranged crisis talks with the 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 series of events which led to the collapse of devolution in October 2002 and the unmasking, three years later of Mr Donaldson as a spy.

Mr Adams said: "Following the historically significant initiatives by the IRA in recent months ... 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 Fein'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 into Stormont's parliament buildings as the Sinn Fein offices were raided.

The police operation resulted in unionists threatening to destabilise the power-sharing executive, and the then Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid suspending devolution.

After a three-year legal battle, the public prosecution service announced 10 days ago at Belfast Crown Court that 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 Fein 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 appeared on Irish television to admit that he had been a spy since the mid-1980s after being compromised in his personal life. "I apologise to anyone who 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."

Mr Hain disputed Mr Donaldson and Sinn Fein claims that the only spy operation at Stormont was run by British intelligence, pointing to the theft of 1,000 documents from the Northern Ireland office.