Saturday 3 December 2016

Joseph's killer may be associated 'with people within Sinn Féin' - Chris Andrews

Published 19/02/2016 | 12:05

Chris Andrews
Chris Andrews
Joseph Rafferty's sister Esther Uzell (Tony Gavin)
Victim Joseph Rafferty.

SINN FEIN candidate Chris Andrews has conceded the suspect in the murder of an innocent Dublin man may be associated with “people within Sinn Fein”.

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Andrews, a former Fianna Fail TD who is standing for the General Election in Dublin Bay South for Sinn Fein, made his comments when questioned about allegations made by Esther Uzell.

Ms Uzell is the sister of innocent Joseph Rafferty, who was murdered in Ongar, West Dublin, in 2005.

Ms Uzell and her family have campaigned for justice for Joseph, who was murdered by a member of the Provisional IRA.

During his time as a Fianna Fail TD between 2007 and 2011, Andrews often accompanied Ms Uzell to high-level garda briefings about her brother’s murder and the progress of the investigation.

Joseph’s sister claims ‘Turncoat’ Andrews was present at meetings when she was told by gardai and local politicians that Joseph’s killer was a “card-

carrying member of Sinn Fein” and a provo.

This has been rejected by Andrews – however he has admitted Joseph’s killer may have some association with his new political party.

He told the Herald: “His name was said at meetings, but I don’t know the chap.

“I know he’s not a member of Sinn Fein. He may have had some association with some people within Sinn Fein, but I don’t know the details around that association.”

Speaking to the Herald, Ms Uzell said Andrews was privy to information about Joseph’s killer and his connections to Sinn Fein.

At the time, Andrews was a Fianna Fail TD, a position he held from 2007 until he lost his Dail seat in 2011. During this time, he brought up Joseph’s murder in a speech while debating the Criminal Justice Act in the Dail in 2009.

In 2012, he resigned from the party after he was exposed for sending out a number of tweets criticising his party leader Micheal Martin and FF colleagues using an anonymous account.

Silence

A year later, he joined Sinn Fein. He was elected to Dublin City Council in 2014.

Ms Uzell broke her silence in an interview with the Herald yesterday, during which she branded Andrews a “liar” and a “hypocrite”.

She angrily accused Andrews of telling “blatant lies” on the doorsteps by informing their neighbours and friends that he is still working with Joseph’s family in a bid to bring his killer to justice. In response, Andrews said that while he did attend high-level meetings with Ms Uzell, it was “never discussed whether he [the suspect] was a member of Sinn Fein or not”.

Speaking last night, Ms Uzell angrily rejected Andrews’ claims, saying he was aware the suspect was a member of Sinn Fein.

“I was flabbergasted that he could just casually lie like that again – there are several gardai and other local politicians who were there when he was clearly told that Joseph’s killer was a card-carrying member of Sinn Fein,” she said.

“He even denied being present when members of Sinn Fein intimidated my sister during the 2007 election, when I ran as an Independent as part of my campaign for justice for my brother.

“But he has selective memory. At the time he was often quoted in the papers accusing Sinn Fein of covering up for Joseph’s killer and now he no longer knows anything? The man has no shame or decency,” added Ms Uzell.

“Since that story appeared in the Herald, I have been contacted by loads of local people who said they were disgusted by his duplicity and lies.

“He has no loyalty left in this area where there is a close-knit community of wonderful neighbours, hopefully they will show him up for the traitor he is on polling day.

“I was warned by a few people in Fianna Fail that Chris Andrews could not be trusted at the time but I was happy for whatever help we could get.

“Had I known what he was really like I would not have crossed the road to speak to him. It is really worrying for our society that a party which covers up for killers and criminals may be in a position to rule this country in a month’s time,” Ms Uzell added.

Her brother Joseph had been subjected to several death threats from a well-known

Provo and Sinn Fein election worker before he was shot dead by a lone gunman in April 2005 in Ongar, West Dublin.

Since his death, Esther and her family have waged a lengthy campaign to get justice – and were supported in their endeavours by the then-Fianna Fail TD.

As part of her campaign, Esther – who was supported by the sisters of Belfast man Robert McCartney, another Sinn Fein/IRA murder victim – also ran for the Dail in 2007 against Sinn Fein to highlight that the party was covering up for the suspect.

During the campaign, republican thugs smashed her car and Sinn Fein activists openly intimidated another sister during an incident that was witnessed by Mr Andrews.

Witnessed

“He knows the murderer is a member of Sinn Fein and worked for them in the election and he witnessed what happened to us, yet he can go and join them [Sinn Fein]?

“When I heard he had gone to Sinn Fein, I was sick to my stomach,” she said.

Andrews says he didn’t see the intimidation – and doesn’t know who was behind it.

“I don’t recall what she’s referring to in terms of intimidation. I don’t actually know what that is she’s referring to. I’m not sure what incident she’s talking about, but I know that she was intimidated, obviously.

“Who she was intimidated by, I don’t know the identity of those people. I supported the campaign then and I support it now.

“If there’s anything that I could do I’d sit down with the gardai and I’m on the Local Policing Forum, I’m on the drugs task force and I’m on the Local Policing Committee.

“I would happily sit down with gardai, with Esther and the family and if there’s any information I have or could help with, I would absolutely do that. I have nothing to hide and I’m more than happy to work with the gardai,” he said.

Earlier this week, Andrews was blasted by a constituency rival, Labour TD Kevin Humphreys, during a debate on RTE Radio’s Sean O’Rourke show.

The Labour TD challenged Andrews about Joseph Rafferty’s murder.

“You have never been consistent in your life since you came into politics,” Humphreys told Andrews.

“Didn’t you attend confidential meetings in Harcourt Square in relation to the murder of Joseph Rafferty, and aren’t you fully aware that you supported the family up to, and until, you changed your colours and went into Sinn Fein?”

Mr Andrews replied: “I worked very closely with the Uzell family and the gardai. I do so still.”

However, this assertion has been roundly rejected by Esther Uzell, who says she wants nothing to do with him.

Herald

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