Adams calls for an accountable DPP

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams, speaking during this evening’s Fianna Fáil Private Members Debate on the Shane O’Farrell case called on the government to establish a Public Inquiry into the case and to take steps to ensure that the DPP is made more accountable for the inexplicable decisions it takes, including in relation to the O’Farrell case.

Gerry Adams said:

“The death of Shane O’Farrell on August 2nd 2011 was a devastating blow to the O’Farrell family. So too has been the catalogue of incompetence, and the appalling decisions made by An Garda Síochána, the DPP and the Justice system which allowed Zigimantas Gradzuiska to be free to kill Shane and then leave this state.

I want to extend my solidarity to the O’Farrell family, particularly Lucia, for their courage and persistence in seeking justice. Like other citizens who suffer an injustice they’ve had to take on the entire state.

Sinn Féin has put down an amendment to the Fianna Fáil motion seeking the establishment of a Public Inquiry. We think that a Public Inquiry is best placed to get all of the facts. I would therefore appeal to Fianna Fáil to accept our amendment and join with us in seeking the best outcome for the O’Farrell family”.

The Louth TD specifically raised the role and accountability of the DPP. Teachta Adams said

“The constant refrain of the government is that the DPP is independent and that it has sole responsibility to decide when and if charges are brought in any given case. But the DPP’s role in the Shane O’Farrell case raises significant concerns about its competence.

In addition, we know that in the case of Crevan Mackin, who shot and killed Garda Tony Golden, that a decision was taken by the DPP not to charge him with offences that he had admitted, including the possession of weapons and explosives.

One of these weapons was almost certainly responsible for the murder of Garda Golden and the grievous wounding of Siobhán Philips.

And then there are the serious questions arising from the DPP’s decision to prosecute people over the incident at Jobstown, involving former Tánaiste Joan Burton.

A Áire there has to be an oversight body which can hold the DPP to account for the inexplicable decisions it takes.

In November 2016 the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny met the O’Farrell family and told them he would ask the Attorney General, and I quote, to “request the Law Reform Commission President Mr. Justice John Quirke to examine how we can reform the law to provide enhanced public understanding for significant decisions made whilst fully preserving the independence of the Director of public Prosecutions.”.

Nothing more was heard of this proposal. I have written to the Minister on this matter. But so far without a reply. Although I have learned prompt and clear replies from this Minister are rare.

Can the Minister clarify the status of the former Taoiseach’s request to the Law Reform Commissioner?

Was the request ever made?

Did the Law Reform Commission President ever agree to undertake this work?

The DPP has to be accountable for its decisions. The government has a responsibility to ensure that this happens”.

New Domestic Violence protocols needed by Gardaí – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised the issue of Domestic Violence legislation in the Dáil and in particular the case of Siobhan Phillips, a victim of domestic violence who was shot along with Garda Tony Golden in October 2015.

Speaking in the Dáil Teachta Adams said:

“I want to ask the Minister about the Domestic Violence Bill 2017. The purpose of this Bill is to consolidate and update the Domestic Violence Bill 1996 and the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2002 into a new comprehensive Bill.

As you may be aware Minister Siobhan Phillips, a young woman who was grievously wounded in the same shooting in which Garda Tony Golden was killed, was the victim of sustained domestic violence.

Two days before she and Garda Golden was shot she went to Dundalk Garda station where despite obvious injuries she wasn’t able to make a statement and there was no private location for her in the station to speak to the Garda about her injuries.

Now the objective of the Domestic Violence Bill is, among other things, to make it easier for victims to avail of the court system and to link them with support.

But there is clearly a need for Garda protocols and facilities based on best international practise to allow victims of domestic abuse to have their complaints dealt with in a therapeutic and appropriate manner.

So when is the does the Minister expect this Bill to complete its legislative journey and when will it be enacted?”

Minister Bruton, standing in for the Taoiseach, said that it was in committee stage in the Seanad.

Commenting later after raising the issue in the Dáil the Sinn Féin leader said:

“It is not acceptable that victims of domestic violence are unable to make complaints to An Garda Síochána in a proper and fitting environment. The trauma of domestic abuse is significant. Women’s Aid reported in 2015 that there were 16,375 incidents of domestic violence in the state. One in three women has experienced psychological abuse by a partner while 15% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner.

We need protocols and resources put in place to provide for the victims of abuse to feel safe and confident to tell their stories to a trained Garda officer in a therapeutic setting.” 

 

Adams highly critical of Taoiseach’s refusal to authorise public inquiry into Omeath shooting

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has strongly criticised the refusal of the Taoiseach to authorise a public inquiry into the murder of Garda Tony Golden, the shooting of Siobhán Phillips, and the suicide of Crevan Mackin in Omeath in October 2015.

On Tuesday Deputy Adams raised with the Taoiseach correspondence he has sent to the Taoiseach over the last 18 months, and serious allegations made in a recent RTÉ Primetime programme about the events of October 2015 and he called on the Taoiseach to agree to the establishment of a public inquiry as demanded by the family of Siobhán Phillips.

Speaking following the exchange in the Dáil, Gerry Adams TD said;

“There are serious questions that must be answered about the murder of Garda Tony Golden, the shooting of Siobhán Phillips and the suicide of Crevan Mackin.

“It is alleged that Crevan Mackin was acting as a Garda agent after agreeing to a deal to avoid firearms offences and that some members of An Garda Síochána knew that he had access to weapons when he was released on bail.

 “The best way of getting to the truth is for the Taoiseach to establish a public inquiry as has been called for by the family of Siobhán Phillips. It is important that any investigative process initiated allows for criminal charges should that need arise. The GSOC investigation will not allow for this.

“The Taoiseach, the Minister for Justice, and the Garda Commissioner have had the pertinent information regarding these allegations for a year and a half.

“Today, the Taoiseach refused to commit to establishing an inquiry that would ensure that all of the truth comes out. He cited the investigation that has now been initiated by GSOC.

“While I welcome the establishment of the GSOC investigations, I have major concerns that its designation as a ‘section 95’ investigation may not allow for all of the issues to be examined properly.

“I told the Taoiseach that the family of Siobhán Phillips share those concerns. Section 95 investigations only allow for disciplinary action to be taken against Gardaí. That is not acceptable given the weight of allegations in this case, and it is my firm view that a criminal investigation is required.”

No austerity for Government golden circle – Adams

Ard Fheis 8Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said the breach of pay caps for Ministerial Advisers exposes the fact that there is no austerity for the Government’s golden circle.

Raising the issue in the Dáil with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mr Adams said a “culture of privilege” across the upper echelons of the public sector was encouraged by continued breach of pay caps for Government Advisers.

He said the Government was living in a bubble and pointed out that the Taoiseach is paid more than the President of France, a country with a population of 64 million. Meanwhile, in stark contrast, he said planned cuts to the One Parent Family Payment will push lone-parent families further into poverty.

Gerry Adams said:

“Recent salary increases for Special Advisers are in direct breach of Cabinet Guidelines. An Adviser to Environment Minister Alan Kelly was paid €85,750 to advise him on, of all things, housing strategy and Irish Water. That is €5,000 above the recommended level.

“Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who wants to impose austerity on the Greeks, sought to have an adviser paid €3,000 more than the Cabinet guideline.

“This was initially rejected because, according to Minister Howlin, there was ‘no compelling reason to sanction the increase’. Five days later, Minister Howlin granted this increase. What was the compelling reason for this?

“Minister Alex White had an adviser put on a salary of €91,624. This was €12,000 higher than the salary originally offered. Minister Simon Coveney secured a €25,000 salary increase last July for an adviser.

“What all of this exposes, once again, is that there is no austerity for the Government. A culture of privilege across the upper echelons of the public sector has been encouraged by this continued breach of pay caps for Ministerial Advisers.

“Meanwhile the Government imposes spay cuts on frontline staff, destroy public services and cut benefits to the most vulnerable. For example, lone parents, who are also carers, will lose €86 per week if your Government goes ahead with its cuts to the One Parent Family Payment. This will push these families further into poverty.

“The continued breach of pay guidelines for Ministerial advisers is also a breach of Enda Kenny’s own election promises and the Government’s much vaunted commitment to reform of the political system.

“The Government is living in a bubble, a golden circle. The Taoiseach is paid more than the President of France, a country with population of 64 million people.

“The Tánaiste’s chief of staff gets a salary of €144,550, nearly as much as the President of France. Her economic adviser is on €114,424. Joan Burton sought to have her former PA put on a salary of €79,401. She eventually settled for €75,647. It would be great if she negotiated as strongly for citizens in difficulties.

“While she lobbies for these extravagant pay hikes for her advisers, the Tánaiste plans to lower the cut-off age for One Parent Family Payment to 7 years from 2nd July. 63% of one-parent households are now living without basic necessities. If Joan Burton’s cut goes ahead, thousands of one-parent families will be pushed further into poverty.

“In light of the hardship and restraint being imposed on citizens through the Government’s austerity policies, the continued breach of pay guidelines for extremely well-paid Ministerial advisers is entirely unacceptable.”