Son of murdered Garda calls for Dublin transparency on IRA collusion

A man who believes Dublin colluded in the murder of his Garda father says Irish state papers released this week are yet another example of why a public forum should review “Irish state collusion with subversives during the Troubles”.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 6:30 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 11:13 am
Dr Finian Fallon from Dublin, whose father Garda Richard Fallon, was shot dead in 1970 by republican splinter group Saor Éire.
Dr Finian Fallon from Dublin, whose father Garda Richard Fallon, was shot dead in 1970 by republican splinter group Saor Éire.

Dr Finian Fallon was speaking after declassified Irish state papers showed that a British ambassador’s holiday details were deliberately leaked by gardai and ended up with the IRA. The information related to protection details for Sir Nicholas Fenn’s boating trip to Co Kerry in 1987.

Dr Fallon’s father, Garda Richard Fallon, was shot dead by republican group Saor Eire during a Dublin bank robbery in 1970.
Senior Dail members and southern journalists have publicly and repeatedly alleged that the murder was carried out with weapons imported into the republic for the IRA with the support of Irish ministers. They have also alleged that one of the gunmen was spirited away to a ferry in the car of an Irish cabinet minister. Irish authorities refuse to release the state papers relating to the murder.

Dr Fallon said: “This [Sir Nicholas Fenn] is yet another example of questionable governance manifested and defended by the Irish government that should be examined in a publicly accountable forum, to establish the likelihood or otherwise of Irish state collusion with subversives during the Troubles,”

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He added that “hundreds died as a result of Irish state involvement with gunrunners at the start of the Troubles” and that there have been no Troubles related convictions in the Republic since the Good Friday Agreement. “Ireland’s government may be committed to peace but its commitment to justice for those affected by its own involvement in gunrunning and collusion has yet to be proven,” he added.

A spokesman for the Irish Department of Justice responded that dealing with outstanding Troubles issues “is of the utmost importance to the Government”.

Dublin is committed to the Stormont House Agreement legacy proposals, and has already enacted the Criminal Justice (International co-operation) Act 2019, to provide for co-operation with the agreement’s legacy bodies, he said. Further legislative proposals will be drafted and if “any new or credible evidence should emerge” on such matters “that evidence will be pursued fully by the Garda authorities”.

The release of state papers is reviewed in case they may be “contrary to the public interest” among other reasons, he added.

In 2018 the Irish government refused to declassify any papers on the murder of Garda Fallon under the 30-year rule. It also rejected calls for a public inquiry by Dr Fallon, who is also seeking the reopening of his father’s inquest.
In 2018 Dr Finian Fallon said he has no faith in his government coming clean under Stormont House Agreement processes which were out for consultation in NI.
In 2017 he presented evidence of “government-sanctioned gun running” to the Irish justice minister - a statement from a former Garda intelligence officer who said he had seen a UK Special Branch photograph of former taoiseach Charlie Haughey’s brother, Jock, in London around 1970 with a leading Saor Eire figure, and founding PIRA member John Kelly from Belfast.
Speaking 10 years after Garda Fallon’s murder, Fine Gael TD Garret Fitzgerald said that at the time of the murder, Department of Justice (DOJ) permanent secretary Peter Berry said that “the gun that shot Garda Fallon was imported through Dublin Airport in September 1969 with the knowledge of a member of the then government”.
Mr Fitzgerald then challenged three cabinet ministers “to say what they know” - including former taoiseach Jack Lynch and former minister for defence Jim Gibbons.
The Irish Examiner reported that the year after the murder, Fine Gael TD Gerry L’Estrange told the Dail that “one of the men who murdered Garda Fallon was brought down to Greenore ferryboat in a State car” which it claimed belonged to then minister of agriculture Neil Blaney.
It also reported that Des O’Malley, former minister for justice, told the Dail in 2001 that there was reason to believe Garda Fallon may have been murdered “with a weapon which had been part of earlier illegal arms shipments into this State”.

The Examiner said it was widely believed that finance minister Charlie Haughey sent his brother Jock to Britain to “relieve the distress in Northern Ireland”.
Dr Fallon believes Jock was in London to procure arms which may have killed his father. His calls for an inquiry and the release of state files under the 30-year rule have so far both been refused.

In 2014 BBC NI Spotlight examined claims of Garda-IRA collusion in a dozen murders along the border. Lord Trimble called for a public inquiry while solicitor John McBurney said an independent panel should look into the claims.

No government minister, Garda representative or former Garda member would speak to the BBC on the claims.