The Penguin, the Gardai and the Government

Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997
Subject: The Penguin, the Gardai, and the Government.

This is an email summary of various events which may or may not be linked to the murder of investigative journalist Veronica Guerin.

There was righteous public outrage in June last year when Veronica Guerin was murdered. At the time it appeared that she had been shot in retaliation for exposing so-called "drug barons" in her newspaper articles.

As the web slowly untangles, I can't help wondering who _did_ order her killing - and just why she needed to be silenced.

Is there simmering under the surface of this investigation the same sort of revelations that rocked Belgium late last year?

The Irish Times
Wednesday, September 17, 1997
Ex-minister questioned  over money laundering:-

A former prominent politician, and one-time junior minister, was being questioned in Dublin last night by gardai investigating money laundering....

The questioning is part of an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau into trafficking by major drug gangs in Dublin..

The Irish Times
Friday, September 19, 1997
Gardai question second man over financial deal:-

Yesterday a second man was arrested at Dublin Airport and taken to Pearse Street Garda station, where he was held under the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996, which allows detention for up to seven days.

He has been linked to a drug dealer nicknamed The Penguin, who has made his fortune from selling cannabis in west Dublin...

Interestingly, although The Penguin is named, neither the former minister nor the second man were named in any media report.

"Cogair" names the former minister as the former Fine Gael minister and PD TD, Michael Keating <>

He claims that Keating, an accountant, is believed by the CAB to have helped The Penguin launder millions of pounds of drug money.

The story gets more interesting.

The Penguin's real name is George Mitchell.

George Mitchell has been named as the man who ordered a gangland murder in
a trial at the Old Bailey in London.

The Irish Times
Tuesday, March 25, 1997
'Hitman' gets life for London shooting:-

A contract killer .... was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in London yesterday.

Michael Boyle (49), of Inchicore, Dublin, was found guilty of attempting to murder Tony Brindle.....

The jury heard that in February 1995 Boyle was arrested in Dublin and became a police informer....

"He gave information to the police about a well-known Dublin criminal, George Mitchell, and his associates...."

"Boyle told them that George Mitchell had asked him and two others to target members of the Brindle family," said Mr Sweeney [Prosecuting]....

So just who is The Penguin, aka George Mitchell?

He happens to be a first cousin of former Fine Gael ministers, brothers Gay and Jim Mitchell.

Gay Mitchell was the minister for European affairs in the rainbow coalition.

And interestingly, Jim Mitchell succeeded Michael Keating (don't look back, that's the name of the former minister whom the gardai held for questioning about laundering of drugs money) as TD for Dublin Central, which covers much of George Mitchell's (The Penguin's) gangland territory.

Let's go back in time a bit...

The Irish Times
Thursday, November 7, 1996
Gardai question seven in Guerin investigation:-

Seven people were being questioned in Dublin last night by detectives investigating the murder of the journalist Veronica Guerin.....

Three ..... are relatives of a major Dublin drug dealer known as "The Penguin", who runs an illegal drug trade for much of Dublin from his base in Ballyfermot....

And, as we approached the first anniversary of Veronica's assassination...

The Irish Times
21 June 1997

Killers may have brought about their own downfall:-

 ..In the years leading up to her murder, Veronica Guerin had helped make these figures familiar - initially only through nicknames such as the Boxer, the Penguin, the Monk. The nicknames were a device to circumvent libel laws.....

In the last articles before her murder, Guerin started to put real names and faces to the nicknames, forcing into the public arena identities known to relatively few.

It is generally thought that Veronica Guerin was murdered because she had started to name crime bosses. But "Cogair" claims that the real reason was because she was about to name the gardai who were in their pay.

We have already seen one garda charged with corruption (Irish Times, Monday, October 21, 1996, "Former garda remanded on charge of corruption" - look it up for yourself). The interesting thing is that he was released on bail and doesn't appear to have been in court since.

"Cogair" writes:-

Gene Holland fired the six bullets that extinguished the life [of Ms Guerin]...., and Brian Meehan drove the motorbike. Like Gilligan, they fled the country shortly afterwards.

But known criminals applying for passports normally arouse suspicion and close scrutiny of their activities.

John O'Neill, one of the gardai taking backhanders from Gilligan, organised passports for the two, no questions asked.

Some in the gardai wanted him charged with conspiracy to murder but he was dismissed from his job on a minor charge with no criminal action taken, as long as he agreed to go
quietly. To protect the reputation of the Force.

But the 'criminals' won't get off so lightly. Three men appeared in court
in July charged with bribing Garda O'Neill.

Irish Independent
Friday, 25 July 1997
Bail on garda bribes charges:-

Three men were remanded to October 18 on at Kilmainhan Court on corruption charges involving a garda.

Patrick Ward (42) of Millbrook Lawns, Tallaght, was charged with giving Gda John O'Neill money in the Belgard Inn, Tallaght car park between June 1 and June 30, 1996. The alleged bribes were £100 and £2,500.

Derek O'Driscoll (28), Croftwood Park, Ballyfermot and Anthony Long (42), Camac Park, Bluebell were both charged with bribing Gda O'Neill with £5,000 at Long's home between September 1 and 30 last....

Note the dates quoted for Patrick Ward - around the time of Veronica's murder.

I suspect that Patrick Ward may be related to Paul Ward, who is awaiting trial for the murder.

And I can't help wondering just who did tip off the assassins as to her movements on that fateful day in June last year.


 We have gardai taking bribes from associates of the murderers of Veronica Guerin, and assisting in their departure from the state.

 And we have a conspiracy of silence when it comes to naming "former government ministers". This in spite of the rush to name names during the recent revelations in the Payments to Politicians tribunal.
To misquote Shakespeare: "There is something rotten in the state of Ireland."


 Back to news