Donegal  local, Eunan Gerard Doherty, and his family have found themselves at the center of a media frenzy as his passport is suspected to have been used by Richard Murphy, a Russian spy based in New Jersey.

The Russian spy is currently in custody with his wife, and fellow spy, Cynthia Murphy. It is alleged that Richard Murphy travelled recently using documents issued to Eunan Gerard Doherty of Ballyloskey, Carndonagh, County Donegal.

The Doherty family has described the situation as a “nightmare."

Mr. Doherty’s wife, Maureen said that her husband, a parttime firefighter, was “not available for comment”. She said “This whole thing is a nightmare for us. The phone hasn't stopped all day with reporters, we just want some privacy. We're being hounded.”

The Irish police are also conducting an ongoing investigation into the matter and the issue of security with regard to Irish passports but they have refused to comment further.

When contacted by the Irish Independent over the weekend Mr. Doherty said “I am not making any comment. I am waiting to have a meeting tomorrow. I have a lot of questions that need to be answered."

However, the police have now completed their questioning of Mr Doherty and he is still none the wiser. His wife said “They won’t tell us anything.”

Five years ago, Mr Doherty travelled to Russia on a family holiday. Before taking his family trip he sent his passport to the Russian Embassy in Dublin in order to obtain the necessary holiday visa.

It is alleged that he Philadelphia-born Russian spy, Richard Murphy, picked up Mr Doherty’s passport earlier this year in Rome before using it to travel to Russia.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said that it was looking for “more information on the allegation.”

This is the second time in the last year that Irish passports have been used in covert operations. Israeli secret agents used Irish passports to enter Dubai and murder Hamas representative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. An investigation into the compromised security of Irish passports is ongoing.

According to documents released by the U.S. Justice Department, Richard Murphy was instructed to use the fake Irish passport. Including Richard and Cynthia Murphy, ten suspected spies have been arrested.

They are suspected of being involved in a deep-cover operation to recruit political sources and gather information for the Russian government.

The documents state that in spring 2009 Richard and Cynthia Murphy were asked by Moscow to gather information with relation to Obama’s visit to Russia that summer, including information on the START arms reduction treaty, Afghanistan and the U.S. approach to Iran’s nuclear program.

Richard and Cynthia Murphy, Russian spies, used Irish passports