Wednesday 23 May 2018

'This really is grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented' - Murderer's attendance at Shatter's book launch sparks outrage

'He's giving two fingers to the justice system’ - Former detective inspector Gerry O'Carroll

MacArthur after being freed from jail Photo: Mark Condren
MacArthur after being freed from jail Photo: Mark Condren

Amy Molloy and Liam Collins

THE ATTENDANCE of notorious killer Malcolm Macarthur at the launch of Alan Shatter's memoir has been described as "appalling" and "despicable" by one of Ireland's leading crime detectives.

Gerry O'Carroll, who was central to the investigation of over 80 murders, has questioned how a coldblooded killer could attend the launch of the former justice minister's book 'Life is a Funny Business'.

"I'm flabbergasted and shocked...the world has gone mad," Mr O'Carroll told

"How can such an evil man, who killed two innocent people, be allowed to do this? I remember every last horrible detail of the day that poor nurse was beaten to death."

Malcolm Macarthur in Hodges Figgis
Malcolm Macarthur in Hodges Figgis

Mr O'Carroll, who has long campaigned for stricter murder sentences, said the incident is a convicted killer "giving two fingers to the justice system".

"He should still be resting comfortably in prison. Murderers should be away for at least 25-30 years before they are even given a chance to consider parole. We need proper and more effective sentencing in this country."

Macarthur was convicted in August, 1982 of the brutal murder of nurse Bridie Gargan, who he bludgeoned to death when he was stealing her car in the Phoenix Park.

He also killed Donal Dunne, who he had arranged to meet to buy a shotgun, before taking the gun and turning it on the Offaly farmer, shooting him dead.

After a nationwide manhunt Macarthur was arrested in the home of the then attorney general Paddy Connolly in Dalkey, south Dublin.

Events surrounding the murder and the discovery of Macarthur were infamously dubbed grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented (GUBU).

Gerry O'Carroll
Gerry O'Carroll

It also led to the resignation of the attorney general and almost brought down the government of the then-Taoiseach Charles Haughey.

Mr O'Carroll used Charles Haughey's own words to describe the attendance of Macarthur at the book launch in Hodges Figgis store on Dawson Street in Dublin.

"To quote Haughey himself - this really is grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented."

Macarthur approached the former justice minister to get his own copy of the book signed while at the event.

Speaking to, Alan Shatter said: "I will not be commenting on this".

Publishers Poolbeg also declined to comment.

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