A ROOM in Letterkenny Garda Station where members of the McBrearty family consulted their solicitor after their arrest on December 4, 1996 on suspicion of murdering Richie Barron, was allegedly bugged.

A Fine Gael frontbench spokesman has claimed that conversations between those arrested, their lawyers, families and the clergymen who visited them at the station, were recorded.

Details of the alleged bugging were given to the Dail last week in the debate calling for a tribunal of inquiry into the McBrearty scandal.

A garda specialist in electronic surveillance allegedly travelled from Dublin the day before the arrests to install the recording equipment. Recordings of the alleged conversations between all of those arrested following the death of Richie Barron will be sought as evidence in a number of civil actions seeking damages from the garda.

Last night Director General of the Law Society, Ken Murphy, said it was outrageous if the recording allegations were true.

Ken Murphy said: “It would be grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented, deeply disturbing and as serious as anyone can imagine.”

The Irish Independent has heard accounts of the alleged bugging given by gardai involved in the investigation into the death of local cattle dealer, Richie Barrons.

It is expected the McBrearty’s and others who say their constitutional rights were breached after their arrest will seek discovery in the courts of any tapes that may exist.

Fine Gael’s Justice spokesman referred to the alleged bugging when he spoke last week on the motion in the Dail to establish a tribunal of inquiry into the McBrearty scandal.

Deputy Jim Higgins said: “The (Garda) inquiries have failed to establish why the gardai decided to bring a specially trained garda from Dublin to install bugging equipment in the GRA room on the ground floor in Letterkenny Garda Station to bug conversations between the McBrearty’s solicitors and their clients.”

Local solicitor James Sweeney, retained by the McBreartys, said: “We were acting for all of the people arrested that day and I would be surprised and concerned.” Last year the Law Society demanded a response from the Garda Commissioner after allegations the phones of lawyers representing the McBrearty’s were tapped.

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