The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Shed no tears for the Donaldson family

Geraldine Adams • 11 April 2006

The killing of Denis Donaldson divides political opinion on this island, but everybody feels sorry for his family. Even 'dissident' republicans who have denounced Donaldson's treachery express their sympathy for his relatives. Such sentiment is misplaced. Shed no tears for the Donaldsons or their in-laws.

Of course, a family can't be held culpable for the actions of one of its members. They were in the dark as much as everybody else. But it has been the Donaldsons' response to Denis's outing that has been shameful. In the immediate aftermath of his unmasking in December, they were surely at sixes and sevens. But when they gathered themselves together, a family statement would have been appreciated.

It could have gone something like this: "It is with shock and regret that we learned Denis was a British agent. If we had known about this at any stage, we would have told him to desist immediately and we would have informed the republican movement of his activities.

"Denis's activities undoubtedly damaged the republican movement and cause. We would like to apologise, in particular, to those individual republicans for whom Denis's activities may have had severe repercussions in terms of imprisonment, injury or even the death of their loved ones.

"While we wholeheartedly condemn what Denis has done, he remains a member of our family and, in other capacities over the years, has been a good son, husband and father. However, we have told Denis that although he can never put things right, he has a duty to now come clean about his activities to the wider republican family. We acknowledge that full disclosure is needed even at this late stage."

But no, the Donaldsons did not issue any such statement. They remained in regular contact with Denis despite his supposed refusal to co-operate with Sinn Fein in debriefing sessions. Ciaran Kearney even gave him the use of his cottage.

When the Donaldsons finally did break their silence, it was after Denis's killing. Their statement, issued through a law firm, was far from dignified. They blamed the media, they blamed Special Branch, they blamed the Brits. It was as if Denis had been an innocent little lamb in a field of wolves.

This could have been argued if Denis had been a young, inexperienced activist or if he had been tortured. But Denis had faced no Guantanamo. He was a smart, seasoned, senior figure. The Donaldsons chose to bury their head in the sand and play the victim.

Their response might be understandable if they were a non-republican family. But the opposite is true. Both the Donaldsons and the Kearneys are steeped in the history of this conflict. Did they display such generous, compassionate feelings when other informers were stiffed over the years? Damn sure they didn't.

They should have thanked their lucky stars that Denis was dispatched to the hereafter with a few shotgun blasts, and that it wasn't his old friend Scap charged with disposing of him. Of course, the family will mourn him but they should acknowledge his personal responsibility too.

The Donaldsons' reaction has probably been influenced by the Sinn Fein leadership. But that is no excuse. It was ordinary republican activists who took the hits: how many in the ard comhairle or Army Council did Denis have sent to jail or the cemetery? They escaped, as always seems to be the case, remarkably unscathed. So it was ordinary republican activists to whom the Donaldson's owed a fitting response.

Sometimes in difficult situations, people rise to the occasion, finding hidden depths in adversity. But neither courage nor conviction was found in the Donaldsons and Kearneys. All they managed was whining self-pity: "Denis would have been all right if it wasn't for the Big Bad Brits and then the Big Bad Media."

They need to catch themselves on. There is a massive arrogance in their attitude. There is hypocrisy too. They said they didn't know who killed Denis but it wasn't the Provisional IRA. It doesn't get more ridiculous than that. You either know or you don't know who the killers were. You can't have it both ways. The family accused others of playing politics and then they did the very same themselves. It was the final cowardly, dishonourable act in this whole stinking affair.



























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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

11 April 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Shed No Tears for the Donaldson Family
Geraldine Adams

Buried in Secret
Anthony McIntyre

The Donaldson Dilemna
Bill Ashe

Motive for Murder
Mick Hall

Victim or Pawn?
Dr John Coulter

Agent of the Peace Process
Anthony McIntyre

Happy Easter
John Kennedy

Where, O Where, Is Our James Connolly?
Paul Maguire

Nice One, Tony
John Kennedy

Putting on the Poor Mouth
Seaghan O Murchu

Spare Us the Cures from Quacks
Dr Seamus Kilby

Profile: Antoine Sfeir
Anthony McIntyre

The Letters page has been updated:

Standing Up to the Enemies of Free Speech


Irish Republicanism and Islam


Real human rights - without any religious blackmail


Resisting Censorship


and more...

Freedom of Speech index

4 April 2006

Interview with Michael McKevitt
Forum Magazine

Catching the Monkey
Anthony McIntyre

Policing the Status Quo
Mick Hall

John Kennedy

T.W.A.T and the problem with Leopard spots
Eamon Sweeney

Bigotry Imperils the Union
David Adams

'Fury over British PM bigot remarks'
Michaél MhaDonnáin

Then Why Is My Colour On Your Flag?
Derick Perry

Exorcise the Ghosts to Revive the Party
Dr John Coulter

How the Irish Screwed Up Civilisation?
Seaghan O Murchu

Play Ball
John Kennedy

Cumann Frithdheighilte Na h-Eireann - An outline
Fionnbarra O'Dochartaigh

Irish Prisoner Suffering Extreme Medical Neglect in English Prison
Paul Doyle

Profile: Maryam Namazie
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Expression: No Ifs and Buts
Maryam Namazie

Manning the Firewalls
Anthony McIntyre

Ulster Muslims' Fury at Web Cartoons
Elham Asaad Buaras

Freedom of Speech index



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