Denis Donaldson inquest adjourned for two years

Denis Donaldson Image copyright Donaldson family
Image caption Denis Donaldson was shot dead in April 2006

An inquest into the death of a Sinn Féin official and republican informer has been adjourned for two years.

Denis Donaldson was murdered in County Donegal in April 2006, months after being exposed as an agent who worked for the police and MI5 for 20 years.

He was once a key figure in Sinn Féin's rise in Northern Ireland politics.

The coroner adjourned the inquest until a separate criminal investigation is concluded. The inquest has previously been adjourned at least 19 times.

Gardai Superintendent (Supt) Michael Finan told the coroner on Wednesday that a "continuing, active, significant investigation" was ongoing.

He said an individual who had already appeared before the courts was due back in the Special Criminal Court in October and three arrests had been made in the last four months.

Supt Finan said there was a "continuing fruitful liaison" with an external police force.

Never so many adjournments

The coroner said he believed there had never been so many adjournments in a coroner's court.

"Hopefully, the investigation will have a result and we will get justice for the family", he added.

A barrister said he echoed the coroner's sentiments and added that the family's quest for justice had never been forgotten.

No one from the Donaldson family was present, nor was the family's legal representation there.

Last month a 74-year-old man appeared in court in Dublin accused of withholding information about Mr Donaldson's murder.

Mr Donaldson, 55, was shot dead at an isolated cottage near Glenties.

Three years after he was killed, the dissident republican Real IRA said they were responsible.

Mr Donaldson's family have alleged that police officers who knew about his secret role may have exposed him as an agent and contributed to his death.

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