On August 31st last, two journalists, Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey were arrested in Northern Ireland and released on bail after sensitive documents belonging to the office of the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland (PONI) featured in a documentary produced by both men.

Their documentary, ‘No Stone Unturned’, which was released in 2017 alleged police collusion in the Loughlinisland attack carried out in 1994. An investigation was subsequently carried out by the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland and earlier this month the PONI denied it made the complaint which prompted these arrests.

Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan TD has said, “Given that conflicting positions have emerged regarding the source of the complaint which triggered these arrests, it’s clear that there are important questions that require answers.

“If it is indeed accurate that no complaint was made to police regarding these documents then the rights of both of these men have been breached and there must be accountability for these actions.”

Cavan Monaghan TD, Brendan Smith added, “It would appear that in denying that its office lodged a complaint, the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland has challenged any justification for police action or arrest of both journalists.

“The freedom of the press protects and upholds a strong democracy and promotes transparency. It is in all our interest to ensure that those standards are preserved,” he concluded.