5 May 2005 Edition
McDowell misrepresents Fullerton witness
Further evidence on the 1991 assassination of Donegal Sinn Féin Councillor Eddie Fullerton came to light in a new television documentary aired last week. This came hot on the heels of an attempt by 26-County Justice Minister Michael McDowell to misrepresent issues by saying a key witness had changed his statement on what he knew about the murder. This was untrue.
Following a campaign by Eddie's family, Micheal McDowell last year directed the Garda Commissioner to carry out a private examination of the original investigation of the murder, which was claimed by the Ulster Freedom Fighters, a cover name for the UDA. The Fullertons had presented the Minister with a file outlining their concerns about the failure of the original Garda investigation.
New evidence has raised issues more sinister than Garda incompetence and could have international ramifications that go to the core of collusion between British state forces, unionist paramilitaries and possibly even members of the Gardaí. Sinn Féin has said that only a full public and international inquiry can fully resolve the issue.
TG4's Fullerton, broadcast on Wednesday 27 April, revealed new evidence that a witness saw three men leave the scene of the murder at the time and informed the authorities. He later received a sinister visit by members of the RUC and Gardaí to his home, where he was subjected to an intimidating interview in a car. His interrogators seemed only interested in whether he could identify the men he had seen on the night of the murder.
The latest evidence, revealed by the programme, is that subsequent to all of this the key witness made a full statement to the RUC. It was this additional information that Michael McDowell previously misrepresented by implying the witness had withdrawn his statement.