Northern Ireland news

Adrian Crevan Mackin: Calls for public inquiry into shooting which killed Garda and wounded killer's former partner

Adrian Crevan Mackin shot his former partner Siobhan Phillips in the same attack in which Garda Tony Golden was killed in 2015
John Monaghan

THE Irish government is facing calls to set up a public inquiry into a shooting by a Newry man which left a Garda officer dead and seriously wounded the killer's former partner.

Adrian Crevan Mackin (25) was on bail at the time of the murder of Garda Tony Golden in October 2015 in Omeath, near the border in Co Louth.

He also shot mother-of-two Siobhan Phillips, who was also born in Newry, several times as the officer brought her to collect belongings from the house she shared with him.

The gunman then shot himself dead.

Thousands lined the streets of Blackrock in Co Louth for the funeral of father-of-three Garda Golden, including President Michael D Higgins and PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton.

Mackin, meanwhile, was cremated at Belfast's Roselawn Cemetery after his body had lain unclaimed for days.

Mackin had numerous convictions, including a firearms offence in the north for which he was serving a three-year suspended jail sentence, as well as for criminal damage, shoplifting and bestial pornography.

He had also been charged in Dublin's Special Criminal Court earlier in 2015 with being a member of the IRA.

An RTÉ investigation, broadcast on Thursday night, raised concerns that Mackin may have been operating as a Garda informer.

The programme said he admitted firearms offences in interview with detectives but was only charged with IRA membership, even though he denied being a member of a group in the same interview.

The Garda Ombudsman confirmed it launched an inquiry six months ago, examining how Mackin was handled by detectives after his arrest.

According to RTÉ, he was held after the FBI notified Garda of his alleged involvement in attempts to buy component pieces for firearms.

It also reported that Mackin was kicked off the republican wing in Portlaoise jail after prisoners suspected him of being an informer.

Katie McAllister, from Madden and Finunace Solicitors, which is representing the Phillips family, said the revelations were a "significant development".

"These revelations raise issues of significant public importance and require an investigation at the highest level.

“We have been instructed today to issue proceedings in the High Court in Dublin and we will be writing to Frances Fitzgerald, the Minister for Justice, requesting that she immediately establish a public enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Siobhan and the murder of Garda Golden."

The Garda Ombudsman said its investigation was in the "public interest" and was launched after it received information and complaints from several sources.

It will examine if gardai "acted appropriately" knowing that Mackin had access to guns and whether they mitigated the "serious risk" this potentially posed to Ms Phillips, the public and gardaI.

Sinn Féin president and Louth TD Gerry Adams said the evidence suggested Mackin was working as a Garda agent at the time of his arrest in January 2015 or subsequent to it.

"All of the families affected by this need to have truth about the circumstances of Mackin's arrest, questioning, charging and relationship with An Garda Siochana," he said.

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan said Garda operational matters "are not the concern of politicians but if decisions are made by state authorities that expose the community to danger, then those decisions must be explained and subject to scrutiny".

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