A decision on a Garda file into the murder of former Sinn Féin member and British agent Denis Donaldson is expected to be taken by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the coming weeks.

Mr Donaldson, 55, was shot dead at a remote cottage on the outskirts of Glenties  in April 2006.

He had been living there since being exposed as an MI5 agent the previous year.

An inquest into Mr Donaldson’s death was adjourned for the 20th time today (Wed) at Letterkenny Coroner’s Court.

Garda Superintendent Michael Finan told the court that the file on the murder is both “substantial and complex” but said it is “nearing completion.”

“A decision will be made on it in the coming weeks,” he said.

The late Denis Donaldson

He applied to have a short adjournment in the case or up to six weeks.

The inquest had previously been adjourned on 31 August 2016 after a person was charged with the alleged withholding of information about the death.

On that occasion, Supt Michael Finan applied to have the inquest adjourned under Section 25.1 of the Coroner’s Act.

Coroner Dr Denis McCauley said that because criminal proceedings were due to take place, the inquest was put on hold to allow these proceedings to take place.

However, another judgment in the High Court on 23 November 2017 in favour of a Michael Sweeney, meant that gardaí could not take proceedings against the person involved in the Denis Donaldson case.

This case is being appealed to the Supreme Court and could take up to a year to be heard, the coroner’s court was told.

If the High Court decision is overturned then criminal proceedings can be re-entered in the case.

Supt Finan told the court that a “substantial file” on the Donaldson case was finally sent to the DPP on 31 July last for consideration but this is the file which is expected to be ready shortly.

The court was told that the Donaldson family have been kept informed of developments and are due to meet with gardaí next month to be briefed on the case.

A letter from Mr Donadlson’s family by the solicitor Madden and Finucane was referred to by the coroner.

The letter said that as another adjournment was expected in the case to allow for the decision of the DPP, they would not be attending but asked to be informed of the next date when the case is adjourned to.

Coroner Dr McCauley adjourned the inquest until May 8th for mention.


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