08 April 2005

Daily Ireland

Frank fights back

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Donegal man Frank McBrearty Snr was subjected to a campaign of harassment and intimidation instigated by gardai investigating the death of Raphoe cattle dealer Richie Barron, it emerged yesterday.
Mr McBrearty told the Morris Tribunal of the Garda corruption in Donegal that followed Mr Barron’s death, which is now believed to be the result of a road traffic accident, and how he and his family were the victims of a “state sponsored conspiracy”.
He also made the dramatic move of bringing Justice Morris out to his jeep to show the judge the huge amount of legal papers he has to cope with without having legal representation.
Mr McBrearty’s son, Frank Jnr, was arrested for murder and Mr McBrearty Snr was also arrested following claims he had interfered with witnesses.
Mr McBrearty denied claims that he had intimidated witnesses, and said he had employed a private investigator Billy Flynn on the condition that if he found any evidence against the nightclub owner he was to go to the garda with it.
“I’m an innocent man and I want the truth. I did not intimidate any witnesses,” Mr McBrearty told the tribunal.
Mr McBrearty Snr said he had gone to Superintendent John Fitzgerald to ask him to stop the “frame-up”.
“He told me he was going to deal with it, that was the last I heard of it. John Fitzgerald knew me so well. He knew I could not be involved in any kind of crime like that.
“The guards were still carrying on round my premises,” he said. Checkpoints were put around the pub and gardai sat in his premises at night.
Mr McBrearty Snr said he felt terrible when he saw a Crimeline programme about Richie Barron’s death, which he claims was made with information fed by former Garda John O’Dowd to Supt Fitzgerald and others.
“I wish to protest about the manner in which the Crimeline report was portrayed by gardai, where the centre of the investigation was pinpointed as being my premises when the movement or death of Richie Barron was nothing whatsoever to do with me.”
Mr McBrearty accused Mr O’Dowd of harassing him.
“From the actions of Mr O’Dowd I can see it clearly: he was the main man in this whole thing. He orchestrated it, he set it up, he used William Doherty.
He claims “high-up officers right down to gardai” are lying.
“All they have to do is admit the wrong they have done,” he said.
Mr McBrearty told the tribunal that his family had received death threats and defamatory graffiti was scrawled on his premises in Raphoe as a result of the rumour that they were involved in Mr Barron’s death.
Mr McBrearty, who served with a peace keeping mission in the Congo and spent 15 years living in the UK before returning to Ireland in 1976, said his life had been destroyed by the incidents in Raphoe.
“I’ve never got my business back to full capacity. I’ve borrowed a lot of money to keep going,” he said.

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