Monday 19 August 2019

Former justice minister Michael McDowell backs Kinahan-linked garda recruit

Michael McDowell. Picture: Collins
Michael McDowell. Picture: Collins
John Downing

John Downing

Former justice minister and attorney general, Michael McDowell, has said a man with family connections to the Kinahan crime cartel through a relative must be allowed join An Garda Síochána.

Mr McDowell also pointed out that a well known criminal, George Mitchell, known as the “Penguin”, was a first cousin of the late former justice minister, Jim Mitchell. “None of us knew about that connection until some time later,” the former Progressive Democrat leader said.

Mr McDowell said his view of the man’s application to join the gardaí was based on the assumption that the applicant had complied with the condition of telling the authorities in advance of his link to the Kinahans.

The rules require all potential gardaí to stipulate any relationship which could impinge on their work in enforcing the law, especially links to criminals or subversives.

“I take the view that this man cannot be held responsible for the actions of his very extended family. Provided he has informed the authorities in line with the rules, he must get fair play.”

The potential garda’s relationship to the Kinahans is understood to be via an aunt of his who is married to a member of that family.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has yet to make a decision on the application which has caused concerns among the garda crime and security branch.

The fear is that the man could be subject to pressures and intimidation from criminals seeking information or other advantages. The crime cartel has many international links in Spain and Dubai and has been linked to a series of brutal murders as part of a major feud with a rival gang.

The applicant is understood to have an exemplary work record and impressed at the recruitment process. He has said he had no contact with the Kinahans and did not intend having any such contacts in the future.

An Garda Síochána have said they will not comment on individual cases for reasons of privacy.

The Kinahan crime empire was established by Christy Kinahan senior who has since left his sons, Daniel and Christy Junior, to take a more leading role. They have been the focus of international police probes.

The group is reputed to have assembled great wealth through drug trafficking and money laundering. Their international reach is a matter of considerable concern to the gardaí.

But it is understood that the potential recruit performed well in examinations and other tests. Some garda sources said they are concerned that he gets fair play and is not held answerable for the actions of people he does not even know.

In the past the sensitive issue of individual garda links to those engaged in law-breaking has proved to be contentious.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News