AN RTÉ INVESTIGATION questions if Garda Tony Golden’s killer Adrian Crevan Mackin was used as an informer and protected by the State.
The 24-year-old had admitted to possessing guns to gardaí just nine months before he shot dead Garda Tony Golden in Omeath on 11 October, 2015.
However, he was not charged with firearms offences despite his admissions.
He admitting to storing guns in a derelict cottage in Louth. Mackin told his sister and solicitor that he brought gardaí to the location to show them his arms dump partly in exchange for not being charged with firearms offences and only being charged with IRA membership.
RTÉ’s Prime Time revealed that the FBI had tipped off gardaí about Mackin buying guns online and officers were given a detailed list going back two years.
In January 2015, at least 16 gardaí from the special detective unit, some or all of them armed, arrived at Mackin’s house to execute a search warrant.
Gardaí found material suitable for making pipe bombs and Mackin was taken into custody.
In initial interviews, he admitted nothing and denied being a member of the IRA.
The transcript, obtained by the programme, shows that 27 questions, asked mostly about the IRA, were all met with the response, ‘No comment’.
Up until his fifth interview Mackin denied IRA membership but admitted buying items for pipe bombs. He later began to admit he illegally imported six gun parts.
Despite admitting to gun possession and the illegal importation of gun parts, he was only charged with membership of the IRA – something he never admitted.
The solicitor for Craven Mackin, Paul Tiernan told RTÉ Investigates:
I find it very strange that someone who had admitted possession of firearms, who admitted the importation of components and parts for firearms, should have been treated in this way. I find it strange he wasn’t charged with possession of those firearms.
When asked if this was unusual, Tiernan said, “It would be highly unusual”.
In a statement given to RTÉ An Garda Siochana said that in all cases it “provides the DPP with all relevant evidence. The DPP then decides on what charges are to be preferred based on that evidence”.
Handed over guns
Mackin was taken to Portlaoise Prison and bail was initially set at €20,000 but later reduced to €5,000.
Speaking to the programme, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams questioned why he wasn’t charged with “these very serious offences” and why he received bail at a reduced cost.
The gardaí said it liaises with the DPP in relation to bail and the courts decide on a case-by-case basis.
Mackin had also told gardaí that he stored the guns in a derelict cottage at Edentober near Dundalk.
It’s claimed he told his sister and solicitor that he brought gardaí to the cottage partly in exchange for not being charged with firearms offences and only being charged with IRA membership.
His sister told RTÉ Investigates, “He told me he brought them (gardaí) to a location close to the border and he handed over two firearms.
He told me one or two guns were handed over initially and later on this may have to happen again. It was left open ended. You know, we’ll keep you out of prison but you’ll have to do this for us.
When Prime Time asked An Garda Siochana if Mackin was an informant, gardaí declined to comment but said their system of managing informers “is supervised by a High Court Judge and can only be maintained by an insistence on the very highest standards of professional integrity on the part of all members of An Garda Síochana”.
Ten days after his arrest, Mackin was released on bail. He believed that dissident republicans were out to get him. Both his sister and solicitor said he was suffering from anxiety.
He started to seriously assault his girlfriend Siobhan Phillips. Her father, who also spoke to the programme, said he thumped her several times on the head, kicked her in the stomach, cut her arm with a bread knife and cut her legs.
Phillips broke down when she went into work after being attacked overnight. Her family brought Siobhan to a garda station. Siobhan’s father told Prime Time that the guard didn’t take a statement from his daughter.
He said that girl could have a brain injury or anything so I’m not going to take a statement from somebody with injuries like that.
Her father said they were told to go to Omeath the next day and arrangements were made for them to meet Garda Tony Golden.
Siobhan gave a statement and drove to Mackin’s house with her father Sean, while Garda Tony Golden drove in front of them.
Phillips said his daughter was worried when she saw Mackin’s car at the house. “I put my hands on Siobhan’s knee and said ‘You’re safe now’.”
“It happened so quick, two minutes. He (Mackin) said, ‘What are you doing here, what are you doing here?’ Then Tony Golden said Siobhan’s here to collect her things. He didn’t answer Tony.
Then I heard bang bang, bang bang, bang bang, bang bang. I’ll never forget that beat. Inside two minutes of them being in the house he shot Siobhan four times and he turned the gun immediately on Tony.
“Then I was running. I was zig-zagging expecting bullets to be firing at me and I was actually shouting the names of my kids thinking it was the last thing I’d be saying.”
Siobhan Phillips lost sight in her eye and has to go through major operations to reconstruct her face and her mouth and her skull.
Sean Phillips said he later learned that his daughter was kept alive by a female garda who gave her CPR until emergency services arrived.
However, while he is grateful for the guard that saved his daughter’s life, he also questions how this was let happen.
Sean Phillips said that Siobhan still hasn’t been interviewed by gardaí.
If I had known he had access to weapons I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near his house. This kid should never have been out. What the hell was that boy doing out and who thought it was a good idea?
On Wednesday of last week, RTÉ Investigates says it sent a list of 15 questions to Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and that on the same day the Garda Ombudsman wrote to Siobhan Phillips saying it was beginning an investigation.