herald

Wednesday 22 January 2020

'Dublin Jimmy' wife taken from flight on way to identify body

Cyril ‘Dublin Jimmy’ McGuinness
Cyril ‘Dublin Jimmy’ McGuinness

Gardai removed the wife and sister-in-law of the deceased criminal Cyril McGuinness from a plane as they were travelling to the UK to identify his body, the High Court has heard.

Mary McGuinness and Barbara Sloan were detained for two hours and had their belongings searched at Dublin Airport after being requested to get off a Ryanair flight bound for Manchester on November 12.

The convicted criminal, known by the nickname 'Dublin Jimmy', had died four days earlier during a police raid on a house in Derbyshire.

The raid was part of a cross-border investigation into the kidnap and torture of Quinn Industrial Holdings director Kevin Lunney. McGuinness was considered a key suspect in the attack on Mr Lunney.

Ms Sloan, his sister-in-law, yesterday initiated legal proceedings against the Garda Commissioner seeking the return of two mobile phones she alleges were unlawfully taken from her at the airport.

Slander

She is also seeking damages for criminal slander, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, misfeasance of public office, assault and battery and abuse of process.

The matter came before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds on an ex-parte, or one side only basis, yesterday.

Her barrister Alan Toal said she was concerned about the manner in which she was treated and believed this treatment was "only because she was in some way related to Cyril McGuinness".

Ms Justice Reynolds said the matter was not one she could deal with on an ex-parte basis and gave Mr Toal liberty to serve the commissioner at short notice. The matter will return to the court on Thursday.

In an affidavit, Ms Sloan, of Seatown Park, Swords, Co Dublin, said she was asked by Mrs McGuinness to come on the flight with her as she would otherwise have been on her own.

They encountered no issues boarding the plane, but after taking their seats three men then came onto the aircraft and headed directly for Mrs McGuinness.

Ms Sloan said both women were requested to show their passports and had their bags taken from the overhead locker before they were requested to leave the plane.

"I asked them why we were being removed and we were told that we would be advised once off the plane," she said.

"Clearly I had no option but to comply with their demand. However, I was absolutely mortified in not alone being treated in the manner and fashion I was, but in addition all this was done in full view of those on the plane."

In the affidavit, she said she was told by a garda that "it was a customs issue" and that if they were carrying too much money, it could be confiscated.

Ms Sloan said both women were personally searched by a female garda.

"I felt violated at having been searched in the stairwell in the presence of a male garda, and at being searched, a search which was not only unlawful but entirely unnecessary and which they knew was unnecessary."

Seizure

Ms Sloan said she protested about the seizure of her phones, an iPhone and a Samsung, as they contained private and business-related material, which she contended gardai had absolutely no entitlement to see.

According to the affidavit, they were later escorted through the airport and made their way to the Ryanair ticket desk where they had to book another flight.

She said they were further embarrassed when they were asked by a Ryanair employee why they were taken off their original flight.

By the time they arrived in Manchester they were too late to attend the undertakers and continued on to Leicester, where they met a Home Office liaison officer the following morning.

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