Farrell insists she was telling truth over garda apology

Marie Farrell yesterday insisted she was telling the truth when she told a Garda inquiry a detective sergeant apologised to her over an incident in which she alleged he exposed himself to her before saying words to the effect “fitting up” journalist Ian Bailey was a “turn on”.

Farrell insists she was telling truth over garda apology

Ms Farrell said her statement to a Garda inquiry that Det Sgt Maurice Walsh came to a bedroom where she was staying in Dublin’s Ashling Hotel in 1999 and had apologised to her over the alleged exposure incident in Schull golf club the previous summer was the truth.

Paul O’Higgins SC, for the State, put to her what she had said was “absolutely untrue”. She replied it was “true.”

Counsel said Det Sgt Walsh was an inspector stationed in Dublin in 1999 and will say he had agreed to go for a drink with Ms Farrell after she rang him when she was in Dublin in 1999 to give evidence in a criminal trial. Sgt Walsh would say he picked up Ms Farrell at the Ashling hotel, drove to the Hole in the Wall pub, later drove her back to the hotel and never went into her bedroom, counsel said.

Ms Farrell said her statement to the McAndrew inquiry that Sgt Walsh had come to her bedroom in the hotel and apologised over the incident in Schull golf club was true. She agreed she had not referred to the apology in her direct evidence in this case.

When counsel asked her wasn’t it a coincidence she was in Dublin in 1999 “at the centre of another big legal case”, Ms Farrell said she had given some information to Garda Kevin Kelleher and he later asked her to make a statement for that case.

When counsel suggested “no normal person” would go for a drink with Sgt Walsh if the incident in Schull golf club happened as alleged, Ms Farrell said “these things happen, that is what happened”. She had never said she was afraid of Sgt Walsh, she added.

Ms Farrell was under continuing cross-examination on the 21st day of the action by Ian Bailey against the Garda Commisisoner and State over the investigation into the murder of French film maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier whose body was found near Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996. The defendants deny all Mr Bailey’s claims, including wrongful arrest and conspiracy.

Earlier, Ms Farrell denied she was responsible for the “large bulk” of contact between her and gardaí investigating the murder. She also rejected a suggestion the reason she was given a mobile phone by gardaí in 1997 was because she was in fear of Mr Bailey after he came into her shop in Schull in June 1997.

Ms Farrell said the reason she was given the phone was because Det Garda Fitzgerald was in daily contact with her. She was afraid of Mr Bailey for a time because Det Fitzgerald had told her Mr Bailey killed the woman, she said.

When Mr O’Higgins told her there were many recorded conversations of her ringing Bandon Garda Station, she said: “You might have me recorded 30 times ringing but you haven’t recorded the hundreds of times Jim Fitzgerald was ringing.”

Counsel played a number of recorded calls of Ms Farrell ringing Bandon station on several occasions during 1997. During one call, she referred to Mr Bailey having harassed her and her being in fear. She said those calls were arranged at the behest of Det Fitzgerald.

Earlier, she was asked to give more details of the man whom she has named as John Reilly and whom she has told the jury she was with in a car on the night of December 22/23, 1996, when she saw a man on the road near Schull about 2am.

She said he was a little older than her, she may have met him in her teens and her mother told her, before her mother died in 2000, he had died in England. She had not spoken to Mr Reilly since December 23, 1996.

She could not recall their conversation that night —they could have talked about the weather, her family, children.

She said she had not seen Mr Reilly in the 14 years since since she left Longford aged 20 until she met him in Cork City on December 22, 1996, and they arranged to meet in Schull that night. She denied she was making up the information concerning Mr Reilly.

Ms Farrell also said she was put under pressure by gardaí who interviewed her in March 2002 in the lobby of the West Lodge Hotel in Bantry during a review of the murder inquiry.

Mr O’Higgins said the gardaí were anxious to identify the man she was with on December 23, 1996, so as to check the accuracy of her statement, but she was reluctant to tell them. Ms Farrell denied she told the gardaí a lot of personal information about herself on that occasion, including she was married for a period of months when she was younger.

“I hate discussing personal stuff,” she said.

She said the gardaí were “horrible, intimidating and bullying” and Det Fitzgerald was very concerned about this review and had advised her what to say.

She denied Det Fitzgerald had persistently tried to get her to name the man she was with on December 23, 1996.

She denied she told the gardaí she had previously led other gardaí to believe, wrongly, a man from Longford with whom she had a relationship at age 19, was the person she was with on December 23 because she wanted to “get revenge” on him for deserting her in particular circumstances.

The case continues on Tuesday.

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