11 June 2005


McBrearty hits out at gardaí decision

11/06/2005 - 11:27:50

The Donegal publican framed for a murder that never was today hit out at a decision to transfer five gardaí named in damning Morris Tribunal reports to Dublin.

A garda spokesman confirmed two officers are to be moved from their posts in the north west to headquarters in Phoenix Park, one will be posted to Harcourt Terrace, while two others will serve elsewhere in the capital.

Raphoe businessman Frank McBrearty junior said the move was part of a ploy by garda management to make it look as though action was being taken against officers implicated in the corruption probe.

“This is a publicity stunt that Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy is involved in,” he said.

“The Garda Commissioner is coming down here and transferring men out of Donegal when he should be transferring himself out of Phoenix Park and resigning. They should not be transferred they should be sacked.”

The gardaí being moved are Martin Anderson, Letterkenny Garda station; Thomas Rattigan, Buncrana; James McDwyer, Ballybofey; Martin Leonard, Letterkenny, and Patrick McDermott, Lifford.

It is not known to which stations they will be posted or what duties they will perform.

But Mr McBrearty said he was not surprised by the decision to move the officers out of the Donegal division.

“Nothing surprises me any more, it’s a joke and a publicity stunt by the Garda Commissioner,” he said.

The transfers come ten days after Mr Justice Frederick Morris hastily published the Tribunal’s second interim report.

The judge heavily criticised several top officers and two superintendents have since resigned their posts, Supt Joe Shelly and Det Supt John McGinley.

The pair had key roles in overseeing the botched investigation into the hit-and-run death of cattle dealer Richie Barron in 1996-1997.

The Morris report found the Barron death probe, over which Mr McBrearty was framed for murder, was “prejudiced, tendentious and utterly negligent in the highest degree”.

Mr McBrearty has called on the Chief Superintendent Noel White of the Donegal division to order the transfer of every officer involved in the investigation out of the county while he pursues a civil suit.

He said he would continue with High Court action against the State and name up to 100 gardaí who he claimed harassed, intimidated and attempted to frame him for murder.

Lawyers from the Raphoe family are due to attend the Tribunal on Monday for an application for legal costs but Mr McBrearty said he would not be returning to the inquiry.

Jim Higgins, Fine Gael MEP, said the decision by Garda headquarters to transfer rank and file officers was bizarre and incredible.

“What is patently obvious is that the culture of long-fingering and whistling past the graveyard is still alive and well at Garda HQ level and is fully supported by Justice Minister, Michael McDowell,” Mr Higgins said.

“Instead of being transferred with full salary rights, the five gardai should have been suspended pending the examination of the file sent by Morris to the DPP.

“I find this incredible decision by Garda HQ and supported by Minister McDowell to transfer the five Gardai bizarre in the extreme. It is in total contempt for the Morris Tribunal findings.”

Mr Higgins said in the wake of the public and political outrage at the decision to accept the “so-called honourable” retirements of Supt Shelley and Det Supt McGinley the transfers were impossible to comprehend.

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