Statement from the family of Denis Donaldson issued by Madden and Finucane

Denis Donaldson
Denis Donaldson



Patrick J. Finucane (1949 – 1989)                                                                         88 Castle Street

Peter J. Madden    Ciarán Shiels                                                                          Belfast, BT1 1HE

Michael Madden    Fearghal Shiels                                                                   Tel: 028 9023 8007

Paul Mc Cann            Roisin Mc Kenna                                                                    Fax: 028 9043 9276

Lynn Day                 Patrick Madden                                                                     DX Box No: 434 NR

Jack Quigley            Gavin Hegarty                                          Email:



30 January 2013




In a statement issued through their legal representatives, Madden and Finucane, the family of Denis Donaldson have welcomed the decision of the Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire to renew the investigation into the role of some PSNI officers in circumstances surrounding Mr Donaldson’s murder in April 2006.

The Donaldson family said:

“We welcome the Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire’s decision to renew the investigation into our complaints about the role of some PSNI officers in circumstances surrounding Denis’ murder.

“Accompanied by the former Chief Human Rights Commissioner Professor Monica McWilliams, we recently met with Dr Maguire to highlight a range of very serious issues relating to our complaint and to ask for the Police Ombudsman to renew his office’s investigation

“After reviewing the family’s original complaint, existing case papers and new information which has been uncovered, Dr Maguire has now written to the Donaldson family confirming that the case will be the subject of a renewed investigation. Dr Maguire has also confirmed that an extant and incomplete investigation by his predecessor left many unanswered questions of complaint and concerns.  Since then, members of the Donaldson family have met with the Police Ombudsman’s investigation team and have agreed to co-operate fully with the new investigation.

“We publicly acknowledge the efforts of the first Police Ombudsman Dame Nuala O’Loan to have the family’s concerns investigated, and her statement that the issues relating to Denis’s murder were “grave and exceptional”. We also note with dismay the manner in which our family’s complaint was stymied after Mrs O’Loan left her position in late 2007. In the intervening years, we have been left without any effective remedy or recognition of our rights and those who orchestrated our family’s ordeal have got off the hook.

“However, Dr Maguire has now indicated his willingness to investigate our complaint thoroughly, objectively and with vigour.

“We remain deeply concerned about the role of some PSNI officers who have held senior intelligence and investigative roles who may hold detailed information about the circumstances surrounding Denis’s murder. The acid test will be whether these serving and retired police officers, and others, fully co-operate with this investigation by the Police Ombudsman. We are determined to hold these individuals to account.”
Editor’s Note:

It is almost 7 years since Denis Donaldson was murdered. The concerns raised and questions asked by the Donaldson family about the role of serving and retired police officers in the circumstances surrounding Denis’ murder have never been the subject of an independent investigation.

Serious concerns have been consistently highlighted by the Donaldson family about the role of the PSNI Special Branch and British intelligence in the circumstances surrounding the exposure and ultimately the murder of Denis Donaldson in April 2006.

In a BBC Spotlight documentary in October 2011, it was revealed that the Office of the Police Ombudsman had decided to close down the Donaldson family complaint without interviewing the PSNI Special Branch handler called Lenny. A journal which had been kept by Denis Donaldson during the period when he and his wife took refuge in Donegal was also not examined by the Office of Police Ombudsman.