Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle calls on Government to investigate reported actions of Garda ‘heavy gang’

Pringle calls on Government to investigate reported actions of Garda ‘heavy gang’

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has called on the Government to investigate the reported actions of the Garda “heavy gang”, as a legacy of the Troubles.

Deputy Pringle said: “As we are here talking today about legacy issues, perhaps the Government could also look at dealing with the legacy of the ‘heavy gang’, particularly in light of the recent RTÉ documentaries about the behaviour of the gardaí during the period of the Troubles through the work of that ‘heavy gang’.”

The deputy addressed the Dáil on Tuesday evening during statements on legacy issues in Northern Ireland.

Deputy Pringle said: “It is a measure of the effect on this State, that the State set up and allowed the operation with impunity of a gang of gardaí who could do what they wanted. While the State probably thought it was acceptable that they targeted republicans, we can see that the activities of the ‘heavy gang’ also targeted ordinary individuals with impunity, and it is an example of how when the State compromises the rule of law that everyone loses out.

“I think that it would be a worthwhile legacy issue for the State to investigate and have an inquiry into the operation of the ‘heavy gang’ and how it has impacted on our society as well, as a legacy of the Troubles,” he said.

In his remarks, Deputy Pringle remembered those who lost their lives on Bloody Sunday in 1972 and expressed his solidarity with their families who, 50 years later, are still seeking justice.

The deputy said this State has failed the people in the north of Ireland time and time again, saying, “This State stood idly by and watched the conflict unfold without taking necessary action to intervene. We neglected them then and we continue to do so now.”

Deputy Pringle said: “Successive governments have been negligent to the North of Ireland for far too long and we need to seriously reconsider the approach of this, and future, governments. We can no longer allow the media and the Government to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to the North.”

“There is an appetite for change, we know that. A referendum on the reunification of this island is not far away and denial of this will not make this any less of a fact.

“We need to take discussions around this seriously. And I don’t mean discussions of flags and anthems. I mean real discussions of people and livelihoods and healthcare and housing. We know that cultural issues are important but what’s more important is the bones that will make up a possible united Ireland. We have a unique opportunity to take the best of both regions and consider what a new, united Ireland might look like, leaving nobody behind in this,” he said.