Adams welcomes High Court decision to back GSOC in Omeath case

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the decision by the High Court to instruct the Special Criminal Court to hand over transcripts of proceedings before the Special Criminal Court relating to Adrian Crevan Mackin who shot dead Garda Tony Golden in October 2015.

Teachta Gerry Adams said:

“Crevan Mackin shot dead Garda Tony Golden in October 2015. He also shot and grievously wounded Siobhan Philips, before killing himself.

Crevan Mackin was previously arrested in January 2015 in possession of explosives and firearms, which he admitted. He was not charged with these offences but instead with an offence he had denied. He was granted bail in the Special Criminal Court.

I have raised my concerns about the manner in which Adrian Crevan Mackin was dealt with by the Garda, the many offences which he admitted to but he was not charged with, the low bail that was set, and his access to other weapons, with the Minister for Justice and An Taoiseach.  

In April the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) agreed to initiate a public interest investigation into these matters after I wrote to it and presented it with papers that I had received relating to the case.

At the time I gave these papers to the investigating officer in the Garda, to GSOC, to the former and current Taoiseach and to the former and current Minister of Justice.

The decision by the Special Criminal Court to refuse to hand over to GSOC the transcripts of proceedings involving Crevan Mackin was incomprehensible. That one part of the justice system would refuse to cooperate with another is a matter of grave concern.

Public accountability and public confidence in the rule of law and the institutions of policing and justice are essential. GSOC should never have been forced to go to the High Court”.

Adams calls for review of Garda facilities for victims of domestic violence

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams this evening called for a review of facilities at all Garda stations to ensure that victims of domestic violence are interviewed in therapeutic and comfortable surroundings. He cited the experience of the Philips family in 2015 two days before the incident in which Garda Tony Golden was murdered; Siobhán Philips seriously wounded and Crevan Mackin took his own life.

Gerry Adams said:

“The Domestic Violence Bill is an important piece of legislation which is urgently needed. One stark statistic highlights its importance. From 1996 over 200 women have died violently as a consequence of domestic violence. Countless thousands more women and children have been the victim of physical and mental abuse.

Among these victims is Siobhan Phillips, a young woman who was shot and grievously wounded in October 2015 in the same incident which saw Garda Tony Golden murdered and Crevan Mackin take his own life.

Siobhán was the victim of sustained domestic violence. Two days before she and Garda Golden were shot she went with her family to Dundalk Garda station. She had been the victim of two days of a sustained assault by Crevan Mackin. She had been beaten and slashed and was in a distressed physical and emotional state.

According to her family’s account, and despite Siobhán and her father telling the Garda that Mackin had threatened their lives, the Officer refused to take a statement and insisted that Siobhán go to Omeath the next day and speak to Garda Golden.

The family was also deeply upset because their conversation, which was of a very intimate and personal nature, had to take place in the very small public hallway of the Dundalk station in front of other members of the public.

I made numerous representations to the Minister on this and to the last Minister and was advised last December that the policy of An Garda Síochána on Domestic Abuse Intervention had been revised. Minister Flanagan wrote to me to say that An Garda Síochána had established Divisional Protective Services Units in three Garda Divisions, including Louth.

When I subsequently raised this issue with the senior Garda in Dundalk they acknowledged that the station was still inadequate for dealing with this kind of situation. They told me that they had applied for funding to correct this so that Garda could meet victims in a proper, fitting and more therapeutic environment.

The funding was refused they said. I have no doubt about the sincerity of the Minister in respect of this Bill but a genuine commitment to the victims of domestic violence to report their abuse and to seek help it must also ensure that not only is this Bill passed but has the financial supports needed to ensure that it can be implemented effectively.

I would appeal to the Minister to order a review of the existing facilities in Garda stations for the victims of domestic violence to tell their story.

Finally, I want to commend Safe Ireland, Women’s Aid and all of those statutory and voluntary activists who work to provide a safe place and a space for victims of domestic violence and who campaign every day in support of victims of domestic violence. I also want to acknowledge the bravery and strength of those victims who speak out against their abusers.”

Response to Omeath shooting deeply disappointing – Adams

The inquest for Garda Tony Golden is scheduled to begin today (Monday 23rd April) in Dundalk. Commenting on the RTE Prime Time programme which was broadcast last week and looked at this case Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams said:

“The response of the Government and of An Garda Siochána to the shootings in Omeath in October 2015 has been deeply disappointing.

The Prime Time report and the recently published Report of the Review by An Garda Síochána into the events at Omeath in October 2015 have again highlighted serious questions which the Minister for Justice and An Garda Síochána have refused to answer.

Some in the Gardaí clearly knew that Crevan Mackin had imported six weapons of which only two were handed over by him at the time of his arrest. Four weapons remained in his possession, including the same model handgun used in the murder of Garda Golden, the attempted murder of Siobhan Philips and the suicide of Mackin. Why were these weapons not recovered by the Gardaí, and why was Mackin only charged with a less serious offence and not with the possession of weapons and explosives which he had confessed to?

GSOC have admitted that they do not have the resources to properly investigate this case and many others in the short term. The Minister for Justice claims it has. The starkly different positions of the government and GSOC mean that families and victims have no clarity about when their cases will conclude? This is unacceptable.

Finally, we now know that the criminal investigation into the Omeath shooting concluded in May of last year. Neither the family nor I were told this. On the contrary I was told in writing and at a meeting with the Minister in December that the investigation was still ongoing. Why?

Finally, I wrote to the Minister on February 8th raising detailed concerns with him about domestic violence and the experience of the Philips family. I have yet to receive a reply. I also wrote to the Minister on February 9th asking about the Review Process and the role of the CHIS or Covert Human Intelligence Sources system which manages agents and informers. I have yet to receive a reply. And finally, I wrote again to Minister Flanagan on March 29th on the back of the publication of the review report. I have yet to receive a reply.”

 

Update:

Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Gerry Adam’s TD, commenting on the inquest into the death  of Garda Tony Golden which opened in Dundalk this morning has said:

“The evidence at today’s inquest into the death of Garda Tony Golden vindicates the Philips family’s call for a public enquiry.

“The Minister for Justice should establish this without delay.”

Cllr Antóin Watters Welcomes Additional Garda Numbers

Following the latest meeting of the Dundalk Local Policing Forum, Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has welcomed plans for additional Garda resources to the Omeath/Carlingford area.

Cllr Watters said “I have been concerned at the reduced numbers for some time now. Over the past six years we have seen the Garda resources, especially in rural areas, cut to the bone.  Omeath and Carlingford are busy tourist areas as well as being a large residential area and they are just as entitled as other citizens to a Garda presence and decent resources. Locals have consistently raised their concerns with me and hopefully this will go some way to alleviating those worries.”

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.”