Wednesday 22 May 2019

Revealed: IRA ‘mole’ discovered in Garda ranks

Provo-controlled ‘mafia’ linked to two Garda deaths

Garda: File photo
Garda: File photo

Jim Cusack, Maeve Sheehan and Daniel McConnell

Gardai are facing a nightmare scenario that one of its own members has worked as a mole for the Provisional IRA-controlled 'mafia' in the Border area, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

A top-level Garda review is under way into a number of its investigations as concern heightens that evidence in several sensitive cases may have been tampered with.

These Garda investigations relate to Provisional IRA-controlled cross-border smuggling rackets and massive money-laundering operations.

One of the main Provisional IRA figures at the centre of the review is understood to be related to a close associate of Adrian Crevan Mackin, who murdered Garda Tony Golden in Co Louth last week.

Yesterday, it also emerged that the Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has ordered the Emergency Response Unit and an extra 27 uniformed gardai into the north Louth area in response to the murder of Garda Golden
Yesterday, it also emerged that the Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has ordered the Emergency Response Unit and an extra 27 uniformed gardai into the north Louth area in response to the murder of Garda Golden

This associate, a south Armagh man, is himself one of the main suspects in the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in Co Louth in January 2013.

In a haunting coincidence, it is understood that Garda Golden was on duty in Omeath the night Det Garda Donohoe was shot dead and was among the first to attend the horrific murder scene to tend to his stricken colleagues.

Despite references to Mackin as a 'dissident', local garda belief is that this is a ruse to deflect attention from the Border mafia, which remains fully under the control of the Provisional IRA.

At the annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown today, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin will refer to "Provisional Sinn Fein" as "a mafia-like organisation" which has failed to "expose child abusers, racketeers and murderers".

Last night, the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald told the Sunday Independent: "Obviously cracking down on dissidents and dissident groups is a priority for me, CAB and the Special Criminal Court. The tragic death of Garda Tony Golden has focused attention on the area."

Yesterday, it also emerged that the Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has ordered the Emergency Response Unit and an extra 27 uniformed gardai into the north Louth area in response to the murder of Garda Golden.

Garda numbers in the Louth division have fallen from 318 in 2010 to 286 in 2013. Even after the murder of Garda Donohoe that year, the number dropped further to 280 this year.

Gardai investigating the murder of Garda Golden have discovered more suspected bomb-making materials as the search of his killer's home continues this weekend.

Material thought to be used in pipe bombs was sent to the ballistics unit yesterday for examination. The items were found inside the house in the quiet Mullach Alainn estate in Omeath days after gardai found a Glock hand gun, 700 rounds of ammunition and cans of petrol in the killer's car.

Mackin's computers and mobile phones are also being analysed for evidence of his 'motivation' and to find out how he got hold of the weapons and what he intended to do with them.

Gardai are "looking very closely at the possibility" that he intended to attack the family of his partner Siobhan Phillips, who remains in a critical condition this weekend.

Suspicion about a mole working for the powerful and wealthy Border Provisional IRA has existed for some years. The Sunday Independent has learned that there was particular alarm when senior officers discovered that a garda was seen in the company of two top IRA figures.

One of those figures is regarded as a top boss in charge of diesel-smuggling and money-laundering and the other is a close relative of a deceased IRA man from south Armagh.

Yesterday, Fianna Fail's border region development spokesman, Brendan Smith, called for a new multi-disciplinary agency to be established to tackle cross-border fuel and cigarette-smuggling and associated criminal activity.

However, Ms Fitzgerald said: "There is a complete commitment to cracking down on this behaviour.

"We obviously need additional legislation and that is being addressed in the new bail bills."

She also said that she was bringing forward an initiative which will allow gardai to electronically tag certain offenders who are granted bail by the courts.

The mole suspicions have increased concerns over the failure of major investigations, including those into the murder of Det Garda Donohoe and also into the IRA's murder of innocent local man Paul Quinn (21) in October 2008.

The suspect garda was not assigned to either the Det Garda Donohoe or Paul Quinn murder investigations.

But a number of other investigations may have been badly compromised. Details of a number of cases are known to the Sunday Independent but cannot be reported due to potential contempt of court issues.

Gardai believe that Det Garda Donohoe's killers, who remain at large and are increasingly unlikely to ever face justice, were operating under the protection of border Provisional IRA gangs.

Mackin was one of the lower-ranking gang members who have been allowed to operate along the border area, exploiting the reduction in policing resources in recent years.

There are well-established concerns about moles within the force. The scuppering of the March 2013 cross-border operation against major fuel smugglers following the leaking of information about raids confirmed in many officers' minds that border policing and customs operations had been hopelessly compromised.

Gardai found pipebomb-making material when they raided Mackin's home in January this year after a tip-off from authorities in the US that he was importing deactivated guns over the internet.

That led to him being charged with membership of an illegal organisation. He was on bail for that charge when he murdered Garda Golden and critically injured Siobhan Philips last Sunday.

A Polish man, who was renting a room in the house in the Mullach Alainn estate, has given a detailed statement to gardai outlining what he knows of Mackin's abusive relationship with Ms Philips.

He was present in the house on the Friday night when Mackin subjected his girlfriend to a savage and prolonged attack. The attack was what prompted the 21-year-old to make a statement to Garda Tony Golden at Omeath Garda Station on Sunday.

The search of Mackin's house is expected to take at least a week and will be "painstaking".

Sunday Independent

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