herald

Sunday 13 October 2019

Man with Kinahan family ties 'should be able to join gardai'

Michael McDowell
Michael McDowell

Former justice minister and attorney general Michael McDowell has said a man with family connections to the Kinahan cartel must be allowed to join An Garda Siochana.

Mr McDowell also pointed out that a well-known criminal, George Mitchell, known as The Penguin, was a first cousin of the late former justice minister Jim Mitchell.

"None of us knew about that connection until some time later," the former leader of the Progressive Democrats said.

Mr McDowell said his view of the man's application to join An Garda Siochana was based on the assumption that the applicant had complied with the condition of telling the authorities in advance of his link to the Kinahans.

The rules require all potential gardai to stipulate any relationship that could impinge on their work in enforcing the law, especially links to criminals or subversives.

Fair

"I take the view this man cannot be held responsible for the actions of his very extended family," Mr McDowell said.

"Provided he has informed the authorities in line with the rules, he must get fair play."

The prospective garda's relationship to the Kinahans is understood to be via an aunt who is married to a member of that family.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has yet to make a decision on the application, which has caused concerns among the garda crime and security branch.

The fear is the man could be subject to pressures and intimidation from criminals seeking information or other advantages.

The applicant is understood to have an exemplary work record and impressed in the recruitment process.

He has said he had no contact with the Kinahans and did not intend having any contact in future.

An Garda Siochana has said it will not comment on individual cases.

Some sources said they are concerned the man gets fair play and is not held answerable for actions of people he does not know.

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