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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Louise Burne

Sinn Fein 'shocked' by Jonathan Dowdall's gangland crimes as he was 'person of good standing' when he joined

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has said that convicted criminal Johnathan Dowdall would not have been “anywhere near her” if she had known of his gangland links.

However, she noted that he was a "person of good standing" when he was in the party.

Mr. Dowdal was sentenced to four years in jail for his part in the Regency Hotel shooting in 2016 in October.

READ MORE: Jonathan Dowdall in prison but location 'kept secret' as he prepares to give evidence in Monk trial

Dowdall (44) admitted that he assisted a criminal gang to commit the murder of David Byrne.

He previously served as a Sinn Féin councillor.

During the trial, several pictures of Dowdall posing with Ms. McDonald surfaced online.

Speaking at the party’s Ard Fheis in Dublin on Saturday, the party President said that the party was not aware of his gangland links.

She said that she was “shocked” to hear of his crimes as he was once “a person of very good standing in the north inner city of Dublin”.

Jonathan Dowdall leaving the special criminal court in Dublin with father Patrick Dowdall (Collins)

Ms. McDonald said: “Had we known that he was involved in any form of criminality, and I have to say I was profoundly shocked, as were many, many others to discover his criminal activity, he wouldn't have been anywhere near Sinn Féin.

“He wouldn’t have been anywhere near me or anybody else.

“The courts now are dealing with this matter. Anybody involved in criminality, gangland [should] would they face the full rigour... Throw the book at them, is what I say.

“I represent a constituency that has borne the brunt of criminality and gangland violence and thuggery.

“Certainly I am relieved [and] pleased to see the wheels of justice in motion.”

Ms. McDonald also said that she does not think Dowdall’s links to Sinn Féin have been “damaging” to the party.

She argued that “people realise and accept that we had no notion, nor had others, of the fact that this individual was involved in criminality”.

She continued: “This person at one point was of very good standing in the north inner city of Dublin. The shock was not just ours but widely felt.

“But let me just assure you, had we known we would not have been anywhere near any of us or in Sinn Féin.”

When asked if Sinn Féin should vet all people joining the party, Ms. McDonald said that would be "crazy" as she pointed out that was a job for the gardaí.


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