21 July 2005

McBrearty family demands apology


21/07/2005 - 10:35:38

The McBrearty family demanded a public apology today from Minister for Justice Michael McDowell after he accused them of trying to blackmail and bully him.

The family was involved in a heated debate with Mr McDowell at the Magill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal.

Frank McBrearty Jr said Mr McDowell was now using the same tactics as the corrupt Garda officers who attempted to frame him for the murder of cattle dealer Richie Barron in October 1996.

“I would ask him to withdraw the allegations that we blackmailed and bullied him because we didn’t blackmail anybody. My family will not stand back and let Mr McDowell bully us,” he said.

He added that his family had been bullied by the State for nine years.

The Morris Tribunal is to investigate the campaign of harassment conducted against the McBrearty family during the Richie Barron investigation, which included defamatory posters and graffiti in their home town of Raphoe in Co Donegal, inspections by gardaí of their pub night after night and bomb scares.

Mr McBrearty and his father Frank Senior became involved in an argument with Mr McDowell at the Magill summer school yesterday, when they asked him why he had not guaranteed his legal costs at the Morris Tribunal.

Mr McDowell said: “I have to stand up for the authority of that tribunal.”

Mr McBrearty Jr: “You have to stand up for the people of Ireland who you represent.”

Mr McDowell: “Yes exactly, and when it came to Superintendent Kevin Lennon (who was sacked from the Garda last year) and others, they went to the High Court demanding I pay their fees in advance.”

Mr McBrearty Jr: “We’re no Supt Lennon. We’re innocent people.”

Mr McDowell: “Just listen to me. They went to the High Court demanding that I write out cheques to their lawyers in advance.”

Frank McBrearty Sr: “They should have been jailed, the people who broke the law.”

Mr McDowell denied claims from the McBreartys that he was lying to them and added: “I will not be blackmailed out of that position. I will not be bullied by you in these circumstances.”

The McBrearty family has vowed not to return to the Morris Tribunal, which still has to investigate the circumstances of their arrests by gardaí, until their legal costs are guaranteed.

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