Sinn Féin associate spoke to Gerry Adams before giving evidence in Brady case
Witness heard Brady confess to the murder of Garda Adrian Donohoe
Aaron Brady was found guilty of the capital murder of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe. File photograph: Collins Courts
A Sinn Féin party member spoke with former leader Gerry Adams before giving evidence to gardaí on the death of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times.
A Sinn Féin associate consulted with former leader Gerry Adams before giving evidence to gardaí on the death of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, a Sinn Féin TD has said.
Darren O’Rourke, a Meath East TD, said it was his understanding members of Sinn Féin do not need to consult with more senior members before providing information to gardaí and he denied there is a culture of fear in the party.
He was speaking after The Irish Times reported that a Sinn Féin member who was a key witness in the case against garda killer Aaron Brady would not make a statement to gardaí before consulting with the party hierarchy.
The lead investigator in the case, Det Insp Pat Marry, said he had to go to a Sinn Féin TD for help with the matter. The witness was then informed by the party there was no issue with him speaking to gardaí.
The party has since said the witness was not a member, though according to the account of Det Insp Marry, Sinn Fén confirmed at the time he was “one of ours”.
Mr O’Rourke said it was his understanding that the TD in question was Gerry Adams, then a TD for Louth.
“The party has been very clear that in so many cases and so many instances that people should come and make statements and if they have information bring to the guards or the PSNI,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“In fairness, I don’t think that the party presumed that they needed to say you don’t need to come to Sinn Féin first before you do that, it’s clearly not the case.
“And I think in fairness in how that developed and played out it was clear that the party does not require that from people and actually a very helpful and useful role was played by by that person, which I think is the important point,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“I don’t know what the reasoning or rationale or thinking was on behalf of that person. And maybe it was just in relation to being overly cautious or second guessing themselves.”
He denied there is a culture of fear within Sinn Féin. “I can say that as somebody who’s been a member of this party for over 20 years and who has come into it without a strong republican background or tradition, I have never experienced that.”
A spokesman for Mr Adams said the former Sinn Féin president publicly called on anyone with information about the murders of both Det Garda Adrian Donohoe and Garda Tony Golden .
“He and other local Sinn Féin representatives met regularly with senior Garda officers on all these matters, including the investigations into the killings of the two gardaí.
“Any information available from the community to Sinn Féin representatives was given to An Garda Síochána.
“This significantly helped progress the investigation, which led to the recent successful prosecution.”
The spokesman said it is “nonsense” to claim that Sinn Féin members need the party’s permission to co-operate with the Garda.
“When information came into his possession in respect of the murder of Garda Tony Golden In October 2015 Mr Adams provided An Garda Síochána, An Taoiseach, and the Minister for Justice with that information.
“He is not satisfied with how that tragic case was dealt with, and has made a complaint to GSOC which is part of an ongoing investigation.
“ Sinn Féin has also checked our records. Contrary to media reports, there is no record of the witness in the Adrian Donohue investigation being a member of the party.”
The witness’s statement, which detailed how he heard Brady confess to the murder, was the first major breakthrough for gardaí investigating Det Garda Donohoe’s murder.
Brady (29), Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, was convicted earlier this month of the capital murder of Det Garda Donohoe, who was fatally shot during an armed robbery at Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Co Louth, in January, 2013.
Gardaí believe at least five men, from Armagh and Louth, formed the robbery gang, two of whom are still in Ireland while two others are living and working in the United States.
Garda sources said some of the evidence used to secure the conviction against Brady was also available for the other suspects, such as telephone records, CCTV footage placing them at key locations at incriminating times and other evidence.
Senior officers believe that because the evidence was accepted as incriminatory by the jury in the Brady trial its value in the cases being prepared against the other four suspects had increased significantly.
Gardai are now expected to ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to review case files about the other suspects with a view to charging them.
Meanwhile, Brady was shackled and placed in a wheelchair by US law enforcement when he was deported to Ireland.
Wearing an orange T-shirt, blue jeans and brown boots, Brady was shackled - with his ankles and wrists cuffed and joined by chains - to ensure he could be easily controlled when taken through JFK Airport in New York and onto a flight to Ireland on May 23rd, 2017. He was deported some five days after being arrested in Yonkers on his way to work.