Incoming Garda Commissioner must address “deep-seated concerns” of Collusion victims – Mary Lou McDonald TD

inn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the incoming Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to  make a statement in response to the concerns expressed by victims of British state collusion.

Ms McDonald cited the serious concerns expressed by Stephen Travers of the Miami Showband and the Relatives For Justice group.

While stating the Sinn Féin will seek to work constructively with the new Commissioner, Teachta McDonald said;

“I think it is appropriate that Mr Harris makes a statement and addresses those real and deep seated concerns.

“Mr Travers has spoken of RUC collusion and the old RUC culture of political policing and cover-up.

“He regards Mr Harris as part of that culture which has denied people the truth.

“Similar concerns have been voiced by the Relatives for Justice campaign group.

“They say that Mr Harris has ‘at every opportunity’ sought to thwart families in ‘the search for truth and accountability’ and that ‘he has had a stranglehold on legacy and acted partially and with vested interests at times’.

“The issue of his evidence at the Smithwick Tribunal being described as ‘nonsense’ by a former Garda Commissioner has arisen.

“The question of what intelligence Mr Harris has had access to in terms of British state collusion in the Dublin & Monaghan Bombings has also arisen.

“Mr Harris must develop an ethos of transparency, best practice and accountability within An Garda Siochana.

“We need to get police reform right.

“To do this he must earn the confidence and trust of the public, particularly in relation to his involvement with legacy cases.

“He must demonstrate that he in no way subscribes to the toxic, vindictive policing culture which necessitated the disbandment of the RUC.

“Taoiseach, what assurances will you give that the new Garda Commissioner will play the part demanded by that office in exposing collusion, uncovering the truth, and holding those responsible to account?”