Monday 20 November 2017

'Who were any of us to know how things would work out?' - Mary Lou McDonald denies having 'any inkling' of Dowdall attack

Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall poses for pictures on the steps of Dublin City
Council with party deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald
Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall poses for pictures on the steps of Dublin City Council with party deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald
Tweet sent by Mary Lou McDonald on Friday evening

Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald claims she had "no inkling" of the crimes committed by former councillor Jonathan Dowdall.

Last week a court heard how Dowdall tied up a convicted fraudster in his garage, "tortured" him with water and threatened to chop him up, feed him to dogs and burn his head at the stake.

During the savage attack victim Alexander Hurley was told he was a “stupid dumb f*** to mess with the head of the IRA” and that Jonathan Dowdall was a friend of Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this Friday Ms McDonald distanced herself from Dowdall (40) and his father Patrick Dowdall (60) who was also convicted of the offence.

Jonathan Dowdall (right) pictured with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald
Jonathan Dowdall (right) pictured with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald

"Let me just state categorically again that Jonathan Dowdall and Jonathan Dowdall alone is responsible for his actions and he will face the consequences."

She continued: "I'm not disputing for a second that Jonathan was elected by Sinn Féin. Who were any of us to know how things would work out? We had no inkling of that."

Ms McDonald also defended her decision to tweet a photo of Dowdall with constituency rival Christy Burke in the aftermath of the Special Criminal Court hearing last Friday.

The politician posted a photo of Dowdall with Mr Burke and wrote: "This terrible story of thuggery carried all day. This photo clarifies political allegiances of convicted person."

Mr Burke (Ind) accused the Sinn Fein TD of "stooping to a new low by trying to deflect and degrade".

He added: "It doesn’t work with me. I’ve always been respectful to my constituency colleagues."

Questioned about the tweet Ms McDonald denied that  it was unfair: "Absolutely not, I don't believe that putting matters that are of public record and putting full facts into the public domain, whoever does it, represents anything like a low."

She continued: "It was a matter of public record, widely commented at the time, that Jonathan Dowdall left Sinn Féin in acrimonious circumstances and he had gone to work on a rival campaign...

"In putting the photograph to the public domain, as I made absolutely clear, it is simply to establish the full story of what happened then and I think Christy understands that."

Ms McDonald also spoke about the appearance by Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday.

Ms O'Sullivan was questioned over financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore. During the hearing there was some confusion over the length of a meeting to discuss these matters in 2015.

Ms O'Sullivan told politicians she first became aware of the extent of the issues when she received a report with recommendations from her head of legal affairs on July 28 that year.

She said: "Prior to that, on July 27 there was a very brief conversation in a room after meeting in Templemore in which Mr Barrett raised issues around work he was doing."

Executive Director of Human Resources, John Barrett, then openly contradicted her: “The meeting was over two hours – it’s in the minutes.”

Ms McDonald described the contradiction as "stark".

"The Commissioner's contention that it was a five minute, very brief meeting in respect of all of the financial irregularites in Templemore, whereas Mr Barrett said the meeting lasted for two and a quarter hours. He had a very sharp recollection and a written note of what occurred."

The Sinn Fein TD said they will have the Commissioner and all of the other witnesses back before them in the next couple of weeks again.

"Believe you me we will get to the bottom of this. We need to establish, in relation to that particular meeting, who was right and who was wrong? Was the Commissioner being fully frank or was she not?"

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News