Fianna Fáil’s Justice and Equality Spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan said, ”Last night’s Primetime documentary about the murder of Garda Tony Golden and the maiming of Siobhan Phillips raises issues of considerable concern.
“The documentary revealed that at the time of Garda Golden’s murder, Gardaí were aware that Crevan Mackin had admitted in interviews to the importation of bomb making materials and parts for 6 firearms. He had also admitted responsibility for the possession of 2 guns in an unused property near his home. This information had initially been brought to the attention of the Gardaí by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Notwithstanding these admissions, Mackin was not charged with possession of this serious arsenal. Instead, he was charged with an offence he did not admit to and which therefore would have been more difficult to prove, namely membership of the IRA.
“What is even more disturbing is that after Mackin was excluded from the Republican wing in Portlaoise prison, a term of granting him bail was significantly reduced. This had the effect of permitting this dangerous man, who was self-medicating for anxiety, back into the community.
“Garda Golden should have been made aware prior to accompanying Siobhan Phillips to Mackin’s home in Omeath that this was a dangerous man who had admitted to the importation and possession of guns. Had Garda Golden been aware of these factors he most probably would not have approached the premises without armed support,” he added.
“If Mackin was a Garda informant, as was suggested by the programme, and was prosecuted with an offence that would facilitate his informing, rather than the serious offences to which he admitted, then this needs to be explained by the relevant authorities.
“Garda operational matters are not the concern of politicians but if decisions are made by State authorities that expose the community to danger, then those decisions must be explained and subject to scrutiny.
“There is no more serious offence than the murder of a member of An Garda Siochana; it is an attack upon the whole community. The bravery and memory of Garda Golden, and the horrendous crime committed against Siobhan Phillips require that a full explanation of the State’s involvement in the matters identified in the programme be provided.”