A Donegal County Councillor has claimed the arrest of Derry dissident republican Gary Donnelly over the murder of former Sinn Fein member Denis Donaldson was “politically motivated”.
Councillor Micheal Mac Giolla Easbuig was speaking following the detention of ‘Donzo’ Donnelly in West Donegal yesterday afternoon.
The Derry and Strabane councillor was arrested by Gardai as he attended a commemoration ceremony for the Meenabanad train robbery.
A second man was also arrested Gardai under the Offences Against The State Act.
Denis Donaldson, who worked as a spy for MI5 and RUC Special Branch inside the IRA and Sinn Fein, was shot dead at a remote cottage in the Glenties in April 2006.
The Real IRA later claimed responsibility for the shotgun murder.
Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig had help organise the event at which Cllr Donnelly was arrested.
He told Donegal Daily that there was no question the arrest was carried out to damage him and his status locally.
“There’s no question it’s part of an ongoing campaign against independent socialist republicans and I’ve no doubt the Government knew it was happening.
“The Gardai had ample opportunity to arrest Gary Donnelly in Donegal before now because they are well aware of his whereabouts.
“But they chose yesterday at a public commemoration to arrest him. It will not damage his reputation but the Gardai and the Government think it will damage the work I’m doing here in Co Donegal.”
Mr Donnelly was arrested in connection on foot of a warrant issued on November 22 last year.
He is currently being held at Letterkenny Garda station.
Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig added: “I’ve no doubt that he will be released later today because they have nothing against him.
“It’s a politically motivated arrest.”