The family of Denis Donaldson, who was shot dead in a County Donegal cottage in 2006 after being outed as a British agent, have said that they do not believe that his killing was sanctioned by Gerry Adams.

The claim was made on a BBC Spotlight program last week.

Three years after the former Sinn Féin official’s murder, the Real IRA claimed responsibility.

Speaking to the BBC, Ciarán Shiels, a lawyer for the Donaldson family, said they had met on Friday with Garda Deputy Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne and two other senior police officers who provided an update on their investigation into the murder.

“The one theme that has come out of today’s meeting is that the theory that was being advanced by BBC Spotlight earlier this week, that this was in some way carried out by the Provisional IRA or authorized by Gerry Adams, I think it’s absolute nonsense,” Mr. Shiels said.

He said the theory that the Provisional IRA carried out he killing and it was sanctioned by Mr. Adams, “just does not stand up.”

“It does not marry in any way with the lines of inquiry that have been progressed by the guards or by the [Police] Ombudsman.”

BBC Spotlight said it “stands by its journalism.”

Read more: Another "get Gerry Adams" bid by BBC Spotlight, Irish media

Dismissing the Spotlight allegations, Mr. Adams said: “I specifically and categorically refute these unsubstantiated allegations.

“I will continue to support the family of Mr. Donaldson to achieve truth and justice.

“Last night’s allegations are part of the British security agencies ongoing attempts to smear republicans and cover-up their own actions.

“There is a need for all these agencies to fully co-operate with the Ombudsman’s investigation into the role of the police in the events that led to the killing of Denis Donaldson and for the Gardaí to expedite their investigation to bring those responsible to justice.”

An inquest into Mr. Donaldson’s killing has been adjourned 18 times after applications from the Gardaí.

In April of this year, the family of Mr. Donaldson called on the Garda Siochana to fully cooperate with the ongoing Police Ombudsman's investigation into the West Belfast man's exposure as an informer by giving the investigators unfettered access to his private journal, which was being written by Mr. Donaldson in Donegal at the time of his murder.