Tag Archives: Mary Lynch

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From top: Mary Lynch on Claire Byrne Live last night and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald in the Dáil this afternoon

This afternoon.

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald fielded questions from Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien further to the reports that Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s senior counsel told the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation into Sgt Maurice McCabe’s complaints – that McCabe told two officers he was acting out of malice.

The allegation was proven to be false after Sgt McCabe produced a recording of his conversation with the two Gardai – and the matter wasn’t included in the final report.

Before Ms Fitzgerald took questions from Mr O’Brien, she mentioned the victims whose experiences were looked at by the O’Higgins commission – including that of taxi driver Mary Lynch who appeared on last night’s Claire Byrne Live on RTE One.

However, Ms Fitzgerald called her by the wrong name.

Ms Lynch was viciously assaulted by Jerry McGrath who was released on bail before Ms Lynch had made a statement. McGrath went on to attempt to abduct a five-year-old girl and received bail again. He then went on to kill Sylvia Roche Kelly.

Ms Fitzgerald said:

“It is disheartening to read of the experiences of victims. We saw Mary Lyons [sic] last night on RTE and we can see the horror that was visited upon her and indeed other victims.”

Following questions from Mr O’Brien, Ms Fitzgerald said:

Frances Fitzgerald: “I believe we shouldn’t lose sight of the central fact that at the heart of the report are the victims who were let down. I think that’s a very key point for all of us to note. And I think our central focus should be on doing everything possible to make sure what is outlined in those investigations doesn’t happen again.”

“There are severe constraints on what I can say about claims that have appeared in the media, under the Commission of Investigation Act of 2004, which formed the legal basis for putting the commission in place.”

“And I have a duty to respect the law and that duty is not diminished by the fact that some media reports have appeared, you know, purporting to set out a small part of what may or may not have been said.”

“I would obviously refer to the statement from Garda Commission Noirin O’Sullivan where she comments on her response to the report and says that she accepts it in full and has put as much information into the public domain as she can do – saying that she’s legally precluded under Section 11, saying any further and I would just reiterate what she said in relation to Sgt Maurice McCabe’s contribution – that it is valued and that the service is changed for the better in response to the points and the issues about which he complained.”

Jonathan O’Brien: “Thank you, minister. Minister the statement last night of clarity actually clarifies nothing in my opinion. And I think there is an issue here which needs to be clarified. Because we have a situation where we have media reports stating that they’ve seen documentation which alleges that the Garda Commissioner instructed her legal team to insinuate malice on behalf of Sgt McCabe. Now if that is the case then somebody, in my opinion, calls into question her credibility. Because is she saying one thing in public and another thing in private to her legal team, then there’s an issue. Now, the other scenario is that this documentation may not be legitimate and if that’s the case then you have a situation where somebody close to the Commission, more than likely close to the Commission has passed on documentation knowingly that is not factual and one can only presume that somebody would do that to undermine the Garda Commissioner herself…”

Meanwhile, from RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live last night – after Ms Lynch recalled how she was attacked and how the gardaí handled her case…

Claire Byrne: “Has anyone contacted you – this Garda Commissioner, Noirin O’Sullivan? The previous Garda Commissioner Callinan?

Mary Lynch: “No.”

Byrne: “This minister for justice, Frances Fitzgerald?

Lynch:No. Nobody.”

Byrne: “Minister Shatter before her?”

Lynch:No, and I’d love to talk to some of them. I would love to talk to both of them actually. I’d like to know why nobody has been made accountable for what happened. Nobody like. Everybody walks away with their hands clean.”

Watch Claire Byrne Live back in full here


[Alan Shatter and Mick Wallace on Prime Time in May 2013 where Mr Shatter disclosed details from Gardai sources of an apparent traffic violation by Mr Wallace]

Independent TD Mick Wallace spoke to Pat Kenny on Newstalk this morning about the Garda whistleblowers Sgt Maurice McCabe and John Wilson and the sacking of Confidential Recipient, Oliver Connolly – in light of Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin telling the Dáil yesterday that he has documents which show cases of abduction, assault, rape and murder have not been properly investigated by members of the Gardaí.

They also spoke about a group he has formed with fellow TDs Joan Collins, Clare Daly and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, called Justice 4 All – which has held a series of public meetings over the last year to allow members of the public, who had concerns about Garda behaviour, to raise their concerns.

It followed an interview that Mr Kenny held with taxi driver Mary Lynch who was violently assaulted by Jerry McGrath in Virginia, Co. Cavan in April 2007. McGrath got bail and went on to try an abduct a five-year-old child in Tipperary in October 2007. When McGrath went before a court in Clonmel, the court was never told about the Cavan assault charge and he got bail again. In December 2007, he killed mother-of-two Silvia Roche Kelly.

Ms Lynch told Pat Kenny she felt ‘guilty’ over Ms Kelly’s death as she feels Ms Kelly would be alive if Ms Lynch had been investigated correctly.

At the end of Mr Kenny’s interview with Mr Wallace, Mr Kenny asked why he didn’t go public with allegations of Garda misconduct sooner – to Mr Wallace’s shock, given he first told the Dáil how Mr Connolly warned Sgt Maurice McCabe “If Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished” on December 4, 2012.

Mick Wallace: “John Wilson is a young man. He’s been forced out of the place. Maurice McCabe works under a terrible stress – it’s mad stuff and the minister, you would think, given that we say that we want to bring Ireland to a place where there’s more accountability and transparency, we have seen 18 months, it’s an unbelievable list of…”

Talk over each other

Wallace: “Diminishing, dismissing have been the order of the day for 18 months.”

Pat Kenny: “You mentioned the [inaudible] meeting in the Red Cow, you’ve had subsequent meetings in the Red Cow or elsewhere..”

Wallace: “In the Red Cow aswell…”

Kenny: “In the Red Cow aswell.”

Wallace: “There’s actually been five meetings at this stage and there’s a committee being formed with no politicians on it and they are pursuing episodes, they’re getting some legal people to work for free and they are trying to help people to actually achieve justice. We have a massive problem in how our police force operates and there isn’t oversight and the notion that the Commissioner and the Force are answerable to the Dáil – you and I know is rubbish.”

Kenny: “Do you see any of this stuff as being deliberately maligned or is it simply incompetence?”

Wallace: “It’s funny but I actually thought, I really believed that…Minister Shatter is a very able individual, he’s very strong and very intelligent – I actually thought that he would have an appetite for putting things right, I really did and I have been shocked when I look back..only lately, we’ve actually done a litany, we’ve looked at the last 18 months have thrown up and the manner in which everything that challenges his political position has been minimised and dismissed at the expense of innocent people, the expense of people who feel that they haven’t got justice is…”

Kenny: “A quote for Mr Justice [Peter] Smithwick: ‘loyalty above truth’, and I mean, is that really the infection that is right throughout the Force and maybe through the body politic and, you know, you look at the scandal that would be given if the Garda force was seeing to be either so malign or incompetent or indeed corrupt in some places – that that’s the appalling vista to which no minister wants to go. So it is better to try and shut everything down and maybe quietly reform, rather than have all this dirty linen washed out in public? I mean that might be a kind way to view this?”

Wallace: “When GSOC published the Kieran Boylan report in the summer, they were very damning of how the police force was operating, they were very damning about the fact that they broke all the rules in terms of accessing information and denying them cooperation and they did say that it looks like the situation that the Morris Tribunal addressed, that nothing had changed. And the blue wall of silence was still very strong.”

Kenny: “What do you want to happen and what do you expect to happen, vis-a-vis the Minister and the Commissioner?

Wallace: “Well, we designed a police bill last summer and we argued that unless there’s a buffer between the minister and the Garda Commissioner, you cannot have proper oversight – there is no buffer there, there’s no, we do need an independent police board, we do need an oversight body, with real power that can look at the policies, patterns and procedures and if we had a police board they would be involved with GSOC with the Garda Commissioner, with the Force and with the Minister. It’s international best practice. We didn’t invent this. Vicky Conway and Dr Dermot Walsh have written all this. We’ve learned from them, we’ve read their books and we saw what was best practice. We looked at what’s happening in other parts of the developed world…”

Kenny: “Would you be happy if the current minister stayed in his job, would you be happy if the current commissioner stayed in his?”

Wallace: “To be dead honest, Pat, after the last 18 months, I do not find either of them fit for office.”

Kenny: “Finally, you’re own and Clare Daly’s regrets maybe. And about maybe not going public with the case of the taxi driver (Mary Lynch), the abduction, the murder even in Limerick: going public with it sooner.”

Wallace: “Eh, I can tell you…”

Kenny: “Cause it’s mystifying that you didn’t go…”

Wallace: “Clare Daly raised a number of the stories that Maurice and John brought to us and nobody took any notice. The whistleblower, the confidential recipient, a man’s head has fallen – and a bit unfairly in lots of ways. Oliver Connolly, Maurice was the one who met him and Maurice would argue for his integrity and his honesty but ultimately…”

Kenny: “Do you think his remark about Shatter therefore, Minister Shatter, was just Oliver Connolly being honest his own personal assessment of Mr Shatter, rather than saying this is chapter and verse, this is what he believed about Minister Shatter.”

Wallace: “The confidential recipient was working for the Minister and the Garda Commissioner really and I mean he was only doing what he could. But I quoted that in the Dáil on the 4th of December, 2012 and, just like the stories that..Ming Flanagan has brought some stories in there,  Joan Collins did, Clare Daly did and there was no interest shown in them. And if you think this is not an isolated case that you just heard this morning, there are hundreds of these unfortunately.”