THE PARENTS OF Siobhán Phillips, the woman who was seriously injured in the incident that killed Garda Tony Golden in Co Louth in 2015, have called on Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to establish a public inquiry into the incident.
In a statement this afternoon via their legal team, Siobhán’s parents Seán and Norma Phillips also said that they have instructed their solicitors “to issue proceedings in the High Court in Dublin”.
Those legal proceedings, which will be launched next week, will name the Irish State and An Garda Síochána as defendants.
The Phillips’ statement comes in the wake of the screening of an RTÉ Investigates programme concerning the killing of Garda Golden.
That programme, which was broadcast last night, calls into question whether the man who shot both Garda Golden and the Phillips’ daughter, Crevan Mackin, was in fact a Garda informer.
24-year-old Mackin 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 those admissions.
After shooting Garda Golden and Siobhán, his partner, Mackin apparently took his own life.
“This is a significant development in relation to the family’s pursuit for information and accountability relating to the shooting of Siobhán on 11 October 2015 and the
serious threat to the family beforehand,” the Phillips family’s legal representatives, Madden and Finucane Solicitors, said in their statement this afternoon.
These revelations raise issues of significant public importance and require an investigation at the highest level. We have been instructed today to issue proceedings in the High Court in Dublin and we will be writing to Frances Fitzgerald, the Minister for Justice, requesting that she immediately establish a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Siobhán and the murder of Garda Golden.
The story regarding the incident in Omeath has continued to develop at pace today. Earlier, the Garda Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) announced it is investigating the events surrounding the killing of Garda Golden.
“The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is investigating the circumstances leading up to and including the death of Garda Tony Golden, the apparently self-inflicted death of Adrian Crevan Mackin and the serious wounding of Siobhán Phillips, in Omeath, Co Louth,” GSOC said in a statement released earlier this afternoon.
The ombudsman says the investigation was opened “in the public interest” in late 2016 “following receipt of information and complaints from several sources in relation to these matters last year”.
GSOC says the investigation is “at an early stage”. However, the scope of the investigation includes:
- Whether the gardaí acted appropriately upon their knowledge of the “serious risk” posed by the access of Crevan Mackin to explosives or firearms
- The extent and nature of the interaction between garda members and Mackin
- Whether the complaints of Siobhán Phillips were adequately treated by gardaí
- Whether or not there was a delay in the garda review of the circumstances surrounding the Omeath incident.
The Policing Authority meanwhile has said that it welcomes the GSOC investigation “in the public interest”.
“The Policing Authority welcomes the announcement by GSOC of its investigation, in the public interest, into the circumstances leading up to and including the death of Garda Tony Golden, the apparently self-inflicted death of Adrian Crevan Mackin and the serious wounding of Siobhán Phillips, in October 2015,” the authority said this afternoon.
The Authority places ongoing considerable emphasis on public confidence in the rule of law. Investigations in the public interest such as this are an important element in ensuring continued public confidence in our policing service.
This morning, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has called for the Dáil to be recalled and a criminal investigation instigated
Adams, who represents the Louth constituency in which the shootings took place, says they “raise serious and fundamental questions about the role of elements of An Garda Síochána in the circumstances surrounding his (Mackin’s) arrest in January 2015 and the events in Omeath in October of that year”.
“The evidence would indicate that Crevan Mackin was working as a Garda agent at the time of his arrest in January 2015 or subsequent to it,” said Adams.
As a result the Gardaí did not charge him with firearms and explosives offences which he admitted to during his questioning in Dundalk Garda station. Subsequently his bail was significantly reduced and he was released from Portlaoise Prison.
“Answers must also be provided as to why Gardaí, at both Dundalk and Carlingford stations, refused to register a complaint or to take a statement from Siobhan Phillips when she was visibly scarred, slashed and frightened for her life as a result of serious abuse by Mackin. Her parents, who accompanied her, were also fearful for their daughter’s safety and indeed for their own lives,” he added.
The Sinn Féin leader claims he has “never received any indication that the government was taking this matter seriously”.
“I have previously written to Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on eight occasions, to the Taoiseach four times, and to GSOC three times, to express my grave concerns regarding this case,” he said.
The responses of both the Taoiseach and Minister for Justice have been unsatisfactory.
He has called for, if necessary, a criminal investigation and “possibly charges” into the circumstances of Mackin’s “arrest, questioning, charging and relationship with An Garda Síochána”.
“Those responsible must be held accountable. The Taoiseach must now recall the Dáil for next week so that the Minister for Justice can make a full statement and take questions on this very serious matter,” Adams added.