Tag Archives: Bryan McMahon

Former High Court Judge Bryan McMahon, second pic, and Brian Killoran, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, at the Oireachtas Justice Committee this morning

This morning.

Retired High Court judge Bryan McMahon – as former chairman of the Working Group on the Protection Process and Direct Provision which produced a report in June 2015  making 173 recommendations – appeared before the Oireachtas justice committee to talk about direct provision.

Brian Killoran, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, also attended the meeting.

Mr McMahon told the committee that the most recent figures show a total of 702 people have been living in Direct Provision for four years or more.

Breaking down these figures he said 346 people have been living in direct provision for at least four years – 75 of whom have their status granted, 41 of whom have deportation orders and 230 whose applications are under consideration.

He also explained there are:

141 people who are waiting five years or more

66 who are waiting six years or more,

63 who are waiting seven years or more,

16 who are waiting eight years or more,

19 who are waiting nine years or more,

26 waiting 10 years or more,

13 who are waiting 11 years or more,

Eight waiting 12 years or more,

One waiting 13 years or more,

Three waiting 14 years or more.

In his June 2015 report, Mr McMahon recommended that asylum seekers be given the right to work.

Almost three years after this report, in February 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that Ireland’s asylum seeker work ban was unconstitutional. This followed a landmark ruling in the Supreme Court, in June 2017.

Today, asylum seekers who have not received a first instance recommendation within nine months of applying for protection are allowed to apply for an employment permit.

But the process is very restrictive and requires people to have secured employment in specific sectors with a salary of a minimum of €30,000 per year.

This morning, Mr Killoran said, in respect of asylum seekers working, significant issues acting as barriers to employment including banking – in terms of asylum seekers being able to open an account into which they can be paid – and the current inability for asylum seekers to obtain driving licences.

Mr Killoran also pointed out that the level of knowledge among asylum seekers that they can work is “incredibly low”.

Mr McMahon told the committee that, according to the Department of Justice, approximately 2,300 applications for work have been made with 1,600 having been approved.

He also said there were 632 employment declaration forms have been returned, suggesting that, in total, around 25-30% of employment applications are being approved.

Mr McMahon said when he was carrying out his work for his 2015 report, he and his team met architects, economists, university lecturers and tradespeople living in direct provision centres.

He said:

“There’s work for everyone, we’re told by the economists now, and if you come for a small town or a local provincial town, you will hear people complaining that they can’t get someone to tend their garden or to do handiwork or to paint the house of whatever it is – which you might imagine might be in some of the direct provision centres.

“…I’m surprised to hear that it’s [the right to work] not that publicised in direct provision centres that much. That of course is a crying shame if it’s not posted in all these direct provision centres that, after nine months, you’re entitled to work. And that should be promoted.”

“…The one thing I’d mention is, when we did our report, we came across a phenomenon which was quite depressing. If these people remain in direct provision centres for five and six and seven years – they lost the will to work. And they became deskilled. Their skills atrophied.

“And they became institutionalised.

“…One man said to me, I asked him one time in one of the centres ‘how are you getting on?’, I was inquiring about his legal papers. And he said to me, ‘Forget about my legal status. Just let me get up in the morning, have my breakfast, go to work, come back in the evening. I’ll work for nothing. Come back in the evening, sit down with my wife and children and say ‘today, I worked’.”

“…There’s a missed opportunity somewhere there.”

Mr Killoran also spoke to the committee about trafficking and sexual exploitation – led by Irish and international “organised crime gangs” who often work in collaboration.

He said there needs to be a change in looking at trafficking as an immigration issue – pointing out that many victims are from EU countries who enjoy freedom of movement – and for it to be viewed more as a gender-based violence issue.

He said in 2016, the State engaged in 19 investigations concerning victims of trafficking and in 2017 this figure rose to 115. These investigation related to both labour exploitation and sexual exploitation.

Mr Killoran said the official figures for 2018 have yet to be released but it’s expected that there will be an increase on the 2017 figure.

He pointed out:

“It’s something that’s increasing in prevalence and increasing in detection but what we’re not seeing I suppose is an increase level of conviction of traffickers which is the biggest single issue.”

“…we haven’t convicted a trafficker in Ireland yet. And that’s a hugely, massive area.”

Watch back in full here

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You may recall the trailer for Gemma O’Doherty’s forthcoming documentary Mary Boyle: The Untold Story.

The trailer featured Bryan McMahon who was arrested and questioned for the disappearance of Mary Boyle.

The questioning occurred while he was serving a two-year sentence in Portlaoise Prison for the sexual assault of a young boy and for the indecent assault of the boy’s brother.

Last Friday Mr McMahon spoke on Ocean FM’s show North West Today – which was presented by Niall Delaney – about how he came to be a suspect in Mary’s disappearance.

Journalist Gemma O’Doherty also took part in the interview.

Niall Delaney: “Can we got back to, it was last year? You were arrested?”

Bryan McMahon: “2014.”

Delaney: “2014, sorry, two years ago, what happened exactly Bryan?”

McMahon: “Yeah, I was serving time, two years in fact, in Portlaoise for indecent assaults levelled against me by a member of the Garda Síochána and his brother. They levelled the charges against me, however…”

Delaney: “You were convicted in that case?”

McMahon: “I was..”

Delaney: “You were sentenced to two years I think.”

McMahon: “Convicted and sentences to two years with a year and a half for remission. And the gardaí arrived, I thought, you know, all I had to do now was just do my sentence, regardless of whether I fought my case or not. You know, I wasn’t able to fight my case with regards to the indecent assault because I wasn’t able I was just completely stressed out and weak, too weak. I was disappointed by the fact that the barrister and my solicitor said that the DPP, I pleaded not guilty to the first case and the second case, they said they want, now they want a guilty plea and I wasn’t able. I wasn’t able to pull myself together.”

Delaney: “OK.”

McMahon: “You know, however, the gardaí, however, arrived in January 2014…”

Delaney: “And you’d just been released from prison at this stage, is that right?”

McMahon: “No, I was still in…”

Delaney: “You were still in…”

McMahon: “I was still in prison, that’s right and they said that they wanted to interview me in relation to the disappearance of Mary Boyle, from her home. And I just thought, you know, that they just wanted to eliminate me from the enquiries and I thought nothing more about it. And how and ever, they came back again in July of that year and they said that they discovered that there was a lot of inconsistencies in my statement. Sure I didn’t actually make a statement at all. All they were doing was piecing together where I was and so forth. And these inconsistencies, one included the fact that they weren’t able to find out, through records in Finner Camp (?) as to where I was on that particular day but I explained very clearly to them that I was partial to the drop and that I was incapable of going out on any search.”

Delaney: “OK, well let’s put this in context. You were in, a member of the Irish Army, based in Finner Camp, near Ballyshannon, around that time, back in 1977.”

McMahon: “That’s right.”

Delaney: “Ok, so, when you were first questioned about Mary Boyle’s disappearance, obviously, you were surprised but you weren’t surprised because there was a Ballyshannon connection, isn’t that right?”

McMahon: “That’s right, it didn’t surprise me at all at least because I knew that everybody who had that connection with that area would be inevitably interviewed, you know, to…”

Delaney: “So there were inconsistencies they say, even though you say you didn’t give a statement but there were inconsistencies in your story.”

McMahon: “That’s right, yeah, that’s right.”

Delaney: “In what way?”

McMahon: “Well I think they only just said that as, you know, as a matter of fact, you know, I don’t think there was any, there was no grounds behind it, you know, because I know for a fact, it was just a few little pieces of information that I provided to them.”

Delaney: “Yeah.”

McMahon: “And then they said then that the Irish Army’s records stated that I was on annual leave but, in actual fact, I wasn’t on annual leave, I was on what was called a week’s patrol leave, where you do a week’s patrol on the border or for another other call, you could be called out for any other reasons, prison escorts which were on the agenda at the time. This patrol leave meant that I was on a week’s patrol and I was then off for a week’s patrol and when you’re off on a week’s patrol, when you’re off, as it were, you were free from duties but, nonetheless, you were still on standby in the event of something taking place.”

Delaney: “Ok and do you remember Mary Boyle’s disappearance and that incident? Is it clear in your memory?”

McMahon: “Oh it is of course, it’s very clear in my memory, yeah.”

Delaney: “Did you know the Boyle family? You knew…”

McMahon: “No, I didn’t know the Boyle family. I didn’t know the Boyle family who lived, Charlie, I believe was her father’s name, who lived down in some part of the lower end of Donegal. I only knew her mother who lived in Cashelard.”

Delaney: “OK.”

McMahon: “And her mother’s brothers and sisters.”

Delaney: “OK, so in July 2014, you were arrested, is that right?”

McMahon: “I wasn’t arrested then until October…”

Delaney: “October.”

McMahon: “2014.”

Delaney: “And the gardaí weren’t happy with aspects of your story so you were arrested – tell us about that.”

McMahon: “They arrived at the prison early in the morning and they wavered a document and they informed me that I was now being arrested under such and such an act, in relation to the kidnapping and disappearance of Mary Boyle from her home and at that very moment I thought I was just going to have a complete breakdown. And I just turned around and said to the prison officer in charge of that particular duty, I said to him, ‘no’, says I, ‘that’s not true’. I said, ‘I didn’t have anything whatsoever to do with her disappearance’ and I didn’t turn to the guards to say it because I had an inclination that something was amiss here, something wasn’t right. And then they said they were taking me to Mullingar, or the prison officers said, ‘you’re being taken to Mullingar for questioning’. Now I was very disappointed about that fact because I believed they shouldn’t have sent me with these three detectives to Mullingar, they should have provided me with a prison escort.”

Delaney: “OK.”

McMahon: “To and fro from Mullingar.”

Delaney: “You were quite upset by this?”

McMahon: “I was very, very upset, I actually thought I’d never recover from it and I was very, very unwell the whole way up to Mullingar.”

Delaney: “Yeah.”

McMahon: “And they just took this all very, very lightly of course, you know, and kind of, more or less, told me to pull myself together.”

Delaney: “And were you very worried?”

McMahon: “I was very, very worried, I was very worried because I said, ‘this is the last straw in my life’. I said, you know, I said, ‘I’ll never recover from this, I said the whole world, I thought in my own mind, would turn completely against me. Now I’m being convicted of killing a child, an innocent six-year-old child. So however, anyway, we arrived at the Mullingar Garda Station and they tried to contact a solicitor that I nominated and that solicitor wasn’t available, that solicitor actually was out on holidays abroad somewhere. And then it was up to them to nominate a solicitor from the local area in Mullingar, to which they did. And I was very satisfied with her. Except for one matter that I was questioned was she, she brought the two detectives who were interviewing me in the interrogation room out into a corridor. Now I was very disappointed about that, that this was done underhanded, I should have been informed of what that represented but she didn’t.”

Delaney: “You spent 48 hours in custody Bryan, is that right?”

McMahon: “That’s right, yeah. And, furthermore, on that evening, when they retired from questioning me, the doctor was called in and I suffer from a chronic ailment and I’m on medication constantly for this ailment and the doctor came in and, lo and behold, he forgot the medication. I thought that was an absolute disgrace because I thought it was another method of weakening me, my whole system down, I was weak enough as it were, as it were, you know.”

Delaney: “OK, well obviously, there was that Ballyshannon connection but was there a direct link do you think or was part of the reason your arrest the fact that you did serve time in prison for indecent assault.”

McMahon: “This would be the case, no doubt, that these people that levelled these allegations against me, that that was partially the connection but I don’t think so, I think this was only just an excuse.”

Delaney: “You still have, well I’ll come back to you about the Mary Boyle case in a moment, I want to bring Gemma O’Doherty in, whom we spoke to earlier in the week. Gemma, good morning to you again.”

Gemma O’Doherty: “Good morning, Niall.”

Delaney: “Thanks for joining us. You’ve interviewed Bryan as part of your documentary which will be aired shortly, we were watching the trailer about it. What do you make of Bryan’s arrest and his detention and questioning?”

O’Doherty: “Well there are so many aspects of this case that have shocked me since I took it on about a year and a half ago but probably Bryan’s whole involvement in it is one of the most disturbing aspects because we are looking at the appalling vista of a citizen being framed by our police force for the murder of a six-year-old child. I’ve got to know Bryan McMahon and what he hasn’t told you about is how in the early days of his childhood, as a young boy, he was put into a foster home in Cashelard where he was physically abused by a woman who has been deemed unsuitable to look after children and as a result of that and other care, well so-called care, that he received at the hands of this State, he received a compensation from the Redress Board. Bryan was a very vulnerable citizen, having endured that abuse, how he has come out the other end of it, I do not know, but he has, and he’s got on with his life. And another very shocking aspect of this is the fact that the chief suspect in this case, the man that Ann Doherty, Mary’s identical twin, believes is responsible for her sister’s rape and murder has never been arrested by An Garda Siochana and this is the person that senior officers, who were the first on the scene, believe was responsible, why has that man, never to this day been arrested and why has another individual who had absolutely nothing to do with the child’s murder been arrested? These are all questions the public have a right to know about.”

Delaney: “Bryan, you had a difficult past, as Gemma pointed out, you…”

McMahon: “Well it was difficult but now, when I realise that the terrible suffering that Mary Boyle endured, apparently in the last moments of her tender life, it makes me feel very wimpish to start complaining about the journey that I went on, you know? It was my journey, I suppose, in comparison to Mary’s, was very piecemeal, I would imagine.”

Delaney: “Why are you still interested in the Mary Boyle case. A lot of people who would have undergone the experience that you had to go through would say, ‘well, that’s the end of that. I don’t want to ever hear about that case again. I don’t want to be involved. I’ve been questioned, I wasn’t charged, it’s just a bad memory in my mind’. Why do you still, why are you still interested in the Boyle case?”

McMahon: “Yeah because I’m the very man now who’s the number one suspect in this case.”

Delaney: “Do you still think you’re the number one suspect?”

McMahon: “Oh I am without a doubt. Well, for example, the other day, the gardai arrived at my door, they were there in the morning but I didn’t make it out to the door on time because there’s no bell on the door and they requested a DNA sample from me. I got a shock when I heard that because I knew that this was not right and even, because, for the simple reason being there was a DNA sample taken from me in the interrogation room in Mullingar and I’m not sure that the man who took the sample was qualified to do so. He was one of the detectives involved in the investigation and, you know, whilst I recorded all this stuff but I was unable to speak out, my mind about it, in relation to that and then these detectives on the 9th or 10th of May there past, it was afterwards then they provided me with a document in relation to that sample.”

Delaney: “Some will say they’re doing their job, they’re trying to get to the bottom of this very disturbing case. A young girl went missing, has been missing since 1977.”

McMahon: “Yeah, they may be doing their job certainly but I’m the man that’s still in the forefront of their mind and I’m very disappointed at this point in time that two years have elapsed and the Garda Commissioner has never come into the scene on this matter. Now I would hope that the Garda Commissioner would now, sooner than later, come in, in other words, if you like, to rescue me.”

Delaney: “That’s the way you see it: you need rescuing?”

McMahon: “That’s how I see it Niall and there’s no other way around it. And when I arrived back that evening, from Mullingar, the 48 hours interrogation, the doctor, Dr McFadden was very, very concerned for my well being and brought me in immediately, requested that the prison officers bring me in immediately, very early in the morning which is unheard of in the prison and ask me if I was OK. And she also told me, she said, ‘Well Bryan, you know, I have been in contact with a friend of mine who has a connection, who has a connection with Charlie Doherty, or Charlie Boyle, and they had said that Bryan McMahon is no way involved in this whatsoever. And she says you can be reassured on that matter, Bryan.”


Delaney: “Bryan, I mentioned earlier, in the early 1980s, you were, you ran this amusement arcade in Sligo, isn’t that right? Called the Jam Pot which many people will remember.”

McMahon: “That’s true, Niall, that’s true and it was at that point in time, in fact, that I was recovering from alcohol for years of alcohol abuse. I just got as it were, an inner knowing with regard to my dilemma and I just stopped drinking there and then and I went to Alcoholics Anonymous for quite a number of years and I got great support there and met a lot of friends there. But still, and I must say, truthfully, that my personality was very badly distorted, you know, from the formative years of my life, I carried that with me to this day, I can’t change the person who I’ve become my personality, until the day I die, will always be…”

Delaney: “And was that you think part of the reason why you ended up in court for indecent assault of two young boys?”

McMahon: “That I’d say, no, I’d imagine, I would imagine that this whole set-up was starting to build up a momentum and I believe that it started after I received that sum from the Redress Board. Because it’s very, very ironic that shortly after I received the money, two gardai arrived on my door and informed me that I was being arrested on suspicion of indecent assault.”

Previously: Mary Boyle’s Untold Story