Garda concerns raised in 2000

McDowell has now claimed that there is nothing new in the secret report that has surfaced, covered in a front page Irish Times story

In the Dail last week, Mr McDowell said it did not finally become clear to the government that a tribunal had to be set up until January 2002, following a review of the full text of the Carty report by barrister Shane Murphy SC.

However, the 37-page summary sent by Mr Conroy 18 months earlier acknowledged that Mr Carty had found serious evidence that significant numbers of gardaa­ had behaved improperly.

Dealing with the investigation into Richie Barron’s death in Raphoe in 1996, Commissioner Conroy said the Carty report had highlighted the inadequate investigation into his death and detailed “incidents where false information and testimony” were tendered to cast suspicion on the McBrearty family and others.

Summarising the report, Mr Conroy said it was “an extraordinary coincidence” that Bernard Conlon had been able falsely to allege that Mark McConnell had threatened him “without some assistance from somebody with a knowledge of the Barron investigation”.

The conduct of two gardaa­, Sgt John White and Garda John O’Dowd, “gave grave cause for concern”, wrote Mr Conroy, while some of the prosecutions taken by them “were devoid of the discretion and balance that might be reasonably expected by any citizen of this State”, he told Mr O’Donoghue.

“On the balance of probabilities and accumulated circumstances there is reason to believe that both members engaged in an abuse of process,” Mr Conroy wrote.

Green Party TD Ciaran Cuffe last night said the Conroy summary proved the government had had enough information to set up a public inquiry in 2000, but that it had deliberately chosen not to do so.

For the record I do not believe McDowell or O’Donoghue. I believe they delayed the establishment of the tribunal by up to two years.