GSOC ‘struggling’ to get Garda records on killing

The Garda Ombudsman has been “struggling” to get information from gardaí and the courts in their investigation into the fatal shooting of Garda Tony Golden and the serious wounding of Siobhán Philips, according to the woman’s father.

Seán Philips said a Garda review into the events, published on Wednesday, had not “adequately addressed” their concerns and that it only caused them “further distress and trauma”.

The Garda review said GSOC had not been given access to records in Garda Security & Intelligence, which could be denied under the law, regarding dissident republican Adrian Creaven Mackin, who murdered Garda Golden and attempted to kill Ms Philips.

Mackin was on bail for charges of IRA membership and allegations have been made that he was operating as an informant at the time he opened fire on Garda Golden and Ms Philips, then aged 21, at the couple’s home in Omeath, Co Louth, on October 11, 2015.

Mackin was arrested in January 2015 for the importation and possession of firearms and gun parts.

An RTÉ Prime Time report in April 2017 said he had admitted to these offences, but was not charged with them, and instead was charged with IRA membership.

The Garda document found that two domestic abuse incidents had not been properly classified by gardaí, and that a garda should have taken a statement from Ms Philips after she showed visible signs of injury.

However, the review concluded that the gardaí had taken “significant actions” and that even had the incidents been classified more appropriately, it was “unlikely” Garda Golden would have taken a course of action other than bringing Ms Philips to her home.

The review said Garda Golden was an “exemplary member” and his actions “beyond reproach”.

In a statement sent via his solicitors Madden & Finucane, Mr Philips said he was “extremely disappointed” and none of the issues had been adequately addressed.

He said: “In fact, this report only serves to cause further distress and trauma for our family.”

Regarding GSOC’s investigation, he said: “We have been in regular contact with GSOC and we know that they have been struggling to get documentation from the gardaí and the Special Criminal Court.

“In a letter to us received this week, GSOC apologised for not having made better progress and reiterated to us that the ‘resourcing of the investigation and our office in general is causing great difficulty and hampering the progress of the investigation’.”

Family solicitor Paddy Madden repeated the calls for a public inquiry.

GSOC said it had no comment, saying its investigation was “ongoing”.


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