Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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PSNI Journey Is Not Complete

Via The Transcripts Audrey Carville speaks to Sinn Féin’s Justice and Equality spokesperson, Cork South-Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, about the appointment of Drew Harris as the new Commissioner of An Garda Síochána. 

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire RTÉ Morning Ireland 27 June 2018
Morning Ireland
RTÉ Radio 1
Time stamp begins ~ 5:02

Audrey: We can talk to Sinn Féin Justice spokesman, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, now. Good Morning!

Donnchadh: Good Morning.

Audrey: Are you happy to work with Drew Harris as the new Garda Commissioner?

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Source: Oireachtas.ie
Donnchadh: Sinn Féin will work constructively with the new Commissioner; we have worked with him in the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland). We will hold him to account as we have previous commissioners and previous senior officers of the PSNI. We had a preference that this appointment would be made after the Commission on the Future of Policing reported – there’s a number of reasons for that – having said that, the process undertaken by the policing authority is now complete, there is no Garda Commissioner in place and we will work with him and we will hold him to account. We have very high standards for policing…

Audrey: …You heard very strong comments there though from Stephen Travers who described his appointment as: a hammer-blow to every victim of collusion by the British security services. And he said: the damage by this appointment that’s been done to the Irish government’s relationship to the Nationalist community in The North is catastrophic.

Donnchadh: Well the PSNI has been criticised by the courts in The North for its failure to comply with court judgments, demanding disclosure of information relevant to legacy inquests, civil proceedings or inquiries from the Ombudsman and that has left many families and victims’ groups frustrated and feeling very let down by the PSNI. And the failure to provide families the truth about the death of their loved ones has affected public confidence in the new policing arrangements. We will continue…

Audrey: …and Drew Harris is the second most senior police officer in The North…

Donnchadh: …we will continue to pursue the PSNI through every avenue possible to ensure that they cease blocking any information being given, such as legacy inquests, but we also want to see, central to ensuring that families and victims get truth and justice is that the legacy mechanisms agreed by both governments and the political parties in The North are delivered. They were agreed at Stormont House but we’ve seen no progress on that.

Audrey: What do you expect Drew Harris to do in relation to the biggest unsolved crime in this state, being the Dublin-Monaghan bombings of 1974, and about which there have been very serious allegations of collusion between the bombers and the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) and the UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment) and given that he had responsibility for all intelligence matters from 2008 onwards? What should he do about that now as Garda Commission?

Donnchadh: We would expect An Garda Síochána, including the Garda Commissioner, to pursue that as much as possible but we would also expect…

Audrey: …pursue that as far as possible – how?…

Donnchadh: …the biggest (crosstalk) the biggest – the biggest obstacle that has existed in relation to the Dublin-Monaghan bombing has been the failure of the British government to release files and we would expect that the Irish government – and we don’t believe that they have done enough on this over the years, we don’t believe that they have properly pursued the Dublin-Monaghan bombings – the most important thing is that they pursue the British government to try and ensure that the relevant files are obtained and…

Audrey: …But won’t Drew Harris be sitting in a very critical position with access or knowledge of, at least, some vital information?

Donnchadh: And it’s absolutely important that An Garda Síochána pursues this as much as possible and it’s important that it is not simply a matter of that it is simply one person’s responsibility – it needs to be the responsibility of All An Garda Síochána – but it also is important that we have strong accountability and oversight mechanisms here and that relates to issues of national security as well. And…

Audrey: …He said also in private evidence to the Smithwick Tribunal that there was intelligence to indicate that several Garda officers had colluded in the murders of RUC Officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan. Should he pursue that now?

Donnchadh: Well clearly, like I mean, that is a very serious statement. It’s been one that’s been, that was refuted, I believe, by the Gardaí’s counsel in the Smithwick Tribunal. The Smithwick Tribunal has come to a conclusion and has made its conclusions. I do believe that it is important that…

Audrey: …But if the Garda Commissioner believes that several Garda officers colluded in murdering two policemen – shouldn’t he pursue that as the Garda Commissioner?

Collusion, North or South, is something that is very serious, something that we have been very keen to highlight. It was a matter that was, frankly it was dismissed not so terribly long ago, but I think more and more it has come to light – the extent of collusion that existed. If there is collusion then it needs to be pursued and…

Audrey: …Just finally: Just a few years ago Martin McGuinness talked about ‘dark forces’ in the PSNI – people wanting to settle old scores whatever the political cost. It was shortly after Gerry Adams had been arrested in connection with the murder of Jean McConville for which he was released without charge – and many people thought Martin McGuinness was talking about Drew Harris at the time. Have you changed your view on him?

Donnchadh: I don’t believe there’s any indication that he was speaking about him and like, I mean, it is our view that, like, the PSNI is currently – there has been – and we’ve made this the central point – we clearly had significant criticisms about the RUC – it was an unaccountable, unrepresentative and partial police force which was responsible for significant human rights abuses – that’s the reason that we made policing reform a central part of our negotiations and clearly now there is strict accountability in the controls in the PSNI but that journey is not completed and we need to complete that… 

Audrey: …Okay. You opposed the Patten Report – let’s not forget. Thank you very much, indeed – Sinn Féin’s Justice spokesman, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire.

Time stamp ends ~10:30

The Transcripts, Of Interest to the Irish Republican Community.
You can follow The Transcripts on Twitter @RFETranscripts 


Anonymous said...

"partial police force which was responsible for significant human rights abuses " hahahahahaha.

good man donnchadh, an autographed copy of gerrys new cook book is on its way down to you.

to all u nordies who blew ur horns up and down west belfast just over 20 years ago....... this is what u were blowing ur horns for - an mi5 coup, north and south.

JBC said...

There was a reprinted article in the Quill within last few weeks. I believe it was an interview in 2013? with a former provisional discussing his disillusionment with the S/F leadership and also on dissident Republicanism. I think the article was to commemorate his death but I am unable to access it. Can you advise?

JBC said...

I found the article and it was on Tony Catney and I noticed in another article you suggested his writings and interviews be collated in book form. Any progress on that.?