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garda tony golden

Family of Siobhán Phillips plead for help and repeat call for public inquiry into her shooting

Garda Tony Golden was shot dead by Siobhán’s abusive partner, Adrian Crevan Mackin in 2015. / YouTube

SIOBHÁN PHILLIPS WAS shot at point-blank range in the forehead by Adrian Crevan Mackin, the man who murdered Garda Tony Golden on 11 October 2015.

On that day, Siobhán had returned to the home she shared with Crevan Mackin to collect her things, after she had earlier been brutally beaten up by him. She was accompanied by Garda Tony Golden.

Adrian Crevan Mackin shot Golden dead, seriously injured Siobhán and then turned the gun on himself.

Siobhán now has a brain injury which will last for the rest of her life, she lost her eye and has had to have extensive facial reconstruction surgery. Siobhán has had to learn how to walk and talk again and has gone through extensive rehab. But she survived, her stepmother Norma Phillips told, who said Siobhán is now taking up a college course and is living independently.

Released on bail

In April of this year, RTÉ’s Prime Time programme called into question whether Crevan Mackin was in fact a garda informer.

The 24-year-old had previously admitted to possessing guns just nine months before he shot dead Garda Tony Golden.

However, despite those admissions, gardaí did not charge him with firearms and explosives offences and subsequently his bail was significantly reduced and he was released from Portlaoise prison.

Siobhán’s parents, Sean and Norma Philips, repeated their calls for public inquiry today into the circumstances of Crevan Mackin’s release on bail, how they were dealt with at the garda station when gardaí refused to take a statement after Siobhán had been beaten up by him, and why Garda Tony Golden was allowed go to Crevan Mackin’s home with Siobhan unaccompanied by another garda.

GSOC investigations

Two investigations are under way by the Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), but the Phillips said they have no faith in them.

Speaking today, Sean Philips said their statement should have been taken that day after Siobhán was beaten up, Crevan Mackin should have been arrested for being in breach of his bail terms and their family should have been protected.

Addressing a number of Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, and indepedent TDs and senators in Leinster House, Sean pleaded for the politicians to unite and fight for justice for his daughter and Garda Tony Golden.

Becoming visibly upset and breaking down in tears, Sean said that “for some reason a decision was made that put us all at risk,” he said.

Siob3 Siobhán Phillips Photo permission by Sean Phillips Photo permission by Sean Phillips

Talking through tears

“It put Siobhán at risk, it put our family at risk, it put Garda Tony Golden at risk. Why the fuck was this guy not arrested,” he said, banging his fist on the table in tears.

Two days before Garda Tony Golden was shot dead, Siobhán suffered a sustained beating from Crevan Mackin. The 21-year-old, fearful for her life, turned to her family for help, and the next day she went to Dundalk garda station to make a statement.

Sean and Norma went with her to the station, where they queued up with other members of the public who were there for more mundane reasons, like renewing their passport.

“Siobhán was black and blue,” said Sean.

“We actually turned up at 3 o’clock on Saturday, which was 24 hours before the shooting exactly. When we went in we had to get into a queue and had wait for 40 minutes. But when we got there, there was point blank refusal to take a statement,” said Sean, who explained that they were told they would have to make a statement in Omeath station, where the garda said the incident had taken place.

Surely anyone that suffers from domestic violence should be able to go to any garda station in the country to make a statement about them suffering abuse, he said.

Siobhán was told she had to speak to Garda Tony Golden about the incident, but they were told he was not in work that day.

Refusing to take a statement

Sean said he could not believe what they were hearing, stating that his daughter was already in a panic that by coming to the police station for fear Crevan Mackin would kill her.

Sean said:

Siobhán’s face was black and blue, she had cut marks and finger marks on her throat, she had a knife wound on her leg. At this point we were all in fear for our lives. Not only was Crevan Mackin threatening to kill Siobhán, he was also threatening to kill Siobhán’s children, and myself and Norma.

“We were like swans peddling below the water, because we didn’t want Siobhán to see our anxiety because we were trying to reassure her that she was safe… she was getting more and more anxious at this stage, because at this stage Crevan Mackin didn’t know Siobhán was out of work and not coming home that night. He thought she had gone to work and would be home on the six o’clock bus, so she was getting more and more anxious,” said Norma.

They travelled to Daisy Hill hospital in Northern Ireland, where Sean said members of the PSNI said they were dumbfounded as to why the gardaí refused to take their statement, and said that it had to be taken in order for the gardaí to arrest Crevan Mackin.

The Phillips family later went to Omeath station, where they met with Garda Golden. He said he would go with Siobhán and her father to her home which she shared with Crevan Mackin to collect her things.

Garda Tony Golden funeral People line the streets for the funeral procession of Garda Tony Golden. PA Archive / PA Images PA Archive / PA Images / PA Images

The murder of Tony Golden

Crevan Mackin’s car was parked outside when they arrived. Garda Golden told Sean Phillips to remain in the car so as not to aggravate Crevan Mackin.

Garda Golden and Siobhan Phillips opened the front door and entered the house. Words were exchanged between Crevan Mackin and Siobhán and he drew his gun on Siobhán and Garda Golden.

Sean said it was not easy to recount the story over and over again, and pleaded for cross-party support to get a public inquiry opened. He said this wasn’t just about the questions that surround Creven Mackin, but also about the wider issue as to how victims of domestic violence are treated.

He questioned how any young woman could have confidence in going to the gardaí to report an incident of abuse after how his daughter was treated.

The briefing by the family today was hosted by Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams,who raised the issue in the Dáil earlier.

No reply from the Taoiseach 

Speaking after the briefing, Adams said he supports the call for a full independent public inquiry.

“Crevan Mackin was previously arrested in January 2015 in possession of explosives and firearm, which he admitted. He was not charged with these offences but instead with an offence he had denied. It is also believed that some in An Garda Síochána knew he had access to other weapons.

“All of this is clear from a file that was sent to me and which I gave to the investigating officer in the Garda, to GSOC to the former Taoiseach and former Minister of Justice and to the current Taoiseach and the current Minister for Justice,” he said.

Earlier in the Dáil, Adams told the chamber he had written to the then Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, four times on the matter.

“I spoke to him a number of times about this case. I wrote to the Tánaiste who was Minister for Justice and Equality at the time eight times. I also spoke to her on many occasions. I gave information to the senior Garda officer investigating the case. I also wrote to GSOC. I wrote to the Taoiseach, Deputy Varadkar, in July about the concerns of the Phillips family on the response of the government to its demand for a public inquiry. I received no reply. I wrote again two weeks ago. I also received no reply,” said Adams.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan acknowledged the correspondence, which he said will be replied to at the earliest opportunity.

“Deputy Adams is aware that two independent investigations are currently under way, one with the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. I assure Deputy Adams that there will be no delay in having these investigations completed. I expect to receive an early report on completion of the investigations and we will then see what action is warranted, in the circumstances,” he said.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “I assure the deputy that I will ensure he receives a reply.”

“It’s two years, and the family also have issues about the treatment they received when they brought Siobhán, who had been severely assaulted by Crevan Mackin, to Dundalk Garda station.

“The only way that all of the facts can be ascertained in a transparent and accountable way is through a public inquiry,” said Adams.

“What happened was horrific for both of our families, and now we are asking all TDs and senators for help, please help us,” said Sean.

Read: “Accused deceased”: Case against Garda killer dealt with at Special Criminal Court>

Read: After killing of Garda Tony Golden, majority of people think laws on bail are too soft>

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