There have been calls for a public inquiry after a Louth man who shot and killed a Garda policeman and seriously injured his ex-girlfriend before killing himself was confirmed to have been a state informer who had been told to spy on IRA groups.
The parents of Siobhan Phillips, who was left for dead when her partner opened fire on her and Garda Tony Golden, are requesting an investigation “at the highest level” on behalf of their daughter into developments reported by the RTE Primetime programme.
The documentary revealed that following an arrest on arms charges, Adrian Crevan Mackin was sent to Portlaoise Prison to spy on breakaway IRA groups. But after republican prisoners became suspicious and refused him access to their wing, he was released on bail.
Mackin’s lawyer confirmed he had been asked by the Gardai to infiltrate an IRA group. To this end, he was charged only with membership of the IRA and not with possessing firearms, even though he had not denied possessing them.
His sister has said her brother had revealed to gardai where he had hidden two firearms. She said the information resulted in the guns being found in a derelict house in County Louth. He also warned her he was under pressure to supply similar information to the Garda in the future to remain out of prison on bail.
“He told me that one or two guns was handed over initially and later on it may have to happen again. It was left open ended. ‘We will keep you out of prison but you have to do this for us’, he was told.
“Why did they think Crevan was a good candidate to be a grass or a tout or whatever word you have to put on it?”
After failing as an informer, Mackin began to suffer from extreme anxiety and feared he was about to be shot dead. His sister said: “He says, ‘I’m a marked man now’. I could see a downturn in his mood.”
He became paranoid and violent towards his girlfriend, Ms Philips. She went to the Garda in October, 2015, and made a statement of complaint about him.
Having taken a statement from her, Garda Tony Golden agreed to accompany her and her father to their home so she could gather her personal items. But Mackin, who was unexpectedly at home, became agitated when his ex-girlfriend arrived in the company of a Garda. It is understood he retrieved one of his weapons and turned it on Golden and Ms Phillips, before killing himself.
At the time, the Republican Network for Unity said Mackin had been an informer since before his arrest. The fact was further confirmed when a phone number of a Garda handler was found on his mobile phone when it was examined after his death. However, mainstream media reports at the time insisted on describing Mackin as a dangerous ‘dissident’.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has called for the Dublin parliament to be recalled and a criminal investigation instigated.
Mr Adams, who represents the Louth constituency in which the shootings took place, says they “raise serious and fundamental questions”.
“The evidence would indicate that Crevan Mackin was working as a Garda agent at the time of his arrest in January 2015 or subsequent to it,” said Adams.
The Sinn Fein leader said he has “never received any indication that the government was taking this matter seriously”.
“I have previously written to Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on eight occasions, to the Taoiseach four times, and to GSOC three times, to express my grave concerns regarding this case,” he said.
The responses of both the Taoiseach and Minister for Justice were unsatisfactory.
He has called for, if necessary, a criminal investigation and “possibly charges” into the circumstances of Mackin’s “arrest, questioning, charging and relationship with An Garda Siochana”.
“Those responsible must be held accountable,” Mr Adams added.