REAL IRA activist Ciaran Doherty was shot dead by his fellow terrorists because they suspected he had supplied information which led to the garda seizure of a cannabis factory in Co Donegal last month.
Doherty (31) was shot in the head and chest and his semi-naked body, with his hands tied together, was left on the outskirts of Derry city, close to the border with Donegal.
The Real IRA leadership in the city decided to "execute" him after they had earlier interrogated him as a result of the garda raid which uncovered the cannabis factory at Carrigans.
Last night the Real IRA in Derry claimed responsibility for Mr Doherty's shooting in a call using a recognised code word.
The group said Mr Doherty was a senior member of their organisation, adding: "We executed him because he was involved with a criminal organisation with links to the drugs trade and was profiteering. He knew the risks involved in what he was doing."
The highly sophisticated cannabis manufacturing operation was based in a four-bedroomed house which had been rented at Kildrum Lower, near Carrigans.
The house was owned by senior RIRA member, Seamus McGreevy (56), whose body was found earlier this month at his home in Stamullen, Gormanston, Co Meath. Gardai investigated his death but foul play was not suspected.
There was no evidence to indicate that McGreevy was aware of the cannabis found but it was decided shortly after his death that Doherty should be interrogated about the find.
Two men were questioned by gardai about the seizure and released without charge. A file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Doherty was never a member of the Provisional IRA but joined the dissidents after the ceasefire. He said he met McGreevy while serving a jail sentence at Portlaoise jail.
He was sentenced to six years' imprisonment by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin in April 2002 after he was found guilty of the armed robbery of a nightclub in a hotel in Inishowen, Co Donegal.
Doherty's body was found close to a Carmelite Retreat Centre on the Braehead Road in Derry at around 10.30pm on Wednesday. He lived less than a mile away at the Coshowen estate in Bishop Street, Derry.
He had left his home around 8pm to go to a local shop but made no further contact.
Last November he told the 'Derry Journal' newspaper that MI5 attempted to recruit him as an informer and that, together with the Customs Service, they had blocked his attempts to set up a cigarette manufacturing company, called Northern Lites.
In January he again contacted the newspaper after his house was searched by the PSNI following the cannabis find in Carrigans. He said he had no involvement in the drugs find and that the house belonged to a republican prisoner he had met in Portlaoise Prison.
Doherty, a father of one, was due to be married in three months' time.
By Tom Brady
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