A MEETING OF the Oireachtas Justice, Equality and Defence committee was suspended this morning after the murder of Fr Niall Molloy was raised.
Independent TD Finian McGrath attempted to ask Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan about the controversial investigation into the priest’s death but was interrupted by the chair.
Deputy David Stanton rebuked his colleague for the question, stating that the committee had agreed not to raise the matter while the meeting was in public session.
He then suspended the session for about 15 minutes.
Fr Molloy was killed in July 1985 in Clara, Co Offaly at the home of his friends Richard and Therese Flynn. The case has come into the spotlight again recently as Gardaí deny allegations of a cover-up. There have been calls for an independent inquiry into the mysterious killing.
Before the meeting was suspended, Commissioner Callinan discussed gangland crime with the committee, telling its members that the force had 25 organised crime groups under its watch.
McGrath had also asked how Gardaí were tackling the issue of young people “being sucked into gangs”.
Callinan said it was typical for teenagers in certain areas to associate crime with a “different lifestyle” as they see those on the higher-end with high-power cars. “We try hard to prevent this,” he said, “but, of course, we don’t get through to everyone.”
He said the Gardaí are working hard to get the message that ‘crime doesn’t pay’ through to communities.
On returning from the unplanned break, the Commissioner was asked his thoughts about RTÉ’s fictional drama Love/Hate.
Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway asked if the programme was impacting criminal activity.
Callinan described the query as “an interesting question” but said he “wouldn’t like to try to gag RTÉ”, jokingly adding that he would “fail miserably”.
He said it was a truth that what society “sees and hears about reflects the realities of what is happening on the street”. Before making an appeal to people who have information about gangland crime to come forward, he said the debate about whether fictional representations are a “good thing or a bad thing” could be never-ending.
Concluding his answer, Callinan told the committee that members of the force are trying to get communities to take ownership of their areas.