UPDATED: TWO political parties today vowed to change the law – to protect Gardai in the wake of the killing of Garda Robbie McCallion.

Fine Gael and Labour say they will look at new ways of protecting officers after teen hood Jamie McGrenaghan was cleared by a jury of Gda McCallion’s manslaughter.

A judge in the case – following current laws – had told the jury before they retired to consider the verdict, that the fact Mr McCallion was a Garda officer had no bearing on the decision they were about to take.

Today Fine Gael Justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan said he would look at changing the law to protect gardai on duty.

“An Garda Siochana must enjoy a special status under any new law,” said Mr Flanagan.

“Officers work on our behalf and must therefore be given special protection and a new law must reflect this.”

Labour spokesman Pat Rabbitte agreed: “A Garda on duty must be given special protection and a special standing in the eyes of the law.”

Yesterday we revealed that thug death driver who killed brave Garda Robbie McCallion had committed six burglaries just a month before the tragic incident.

The incidents all happened between February 26th and February 27th, 2009 at a caravan park in Fanad during which he stole a number of items from different mobile homes including stereos and binoculars. 

However he was not prosecuted for those until after the trial ended yesterday.

It is unclear today who took the decision to prosecute these crimes and when.

This meant the jury could be told by his defence team in the manslaughter case that he had no previous convictions.

Throughout the three day trial the jury was told how McGrenaghan had a clean record and that he was under the influence of his associate Cathal Dunleavy, who had 45 previous convictions.

Jamie McGrenaghan, 19, from Kerrykeel, pleaded guilty to those burglary charges on Friday afternoon – but only AFTER he was cleared of the most serious offence.

He will be sentenced for all those offences – and causing the death of Garda McCallion by dangerous driving – next week.

Today a close colleague of the dead officer told donegaldaily.com: “Serious questions needs to be asked about this whole process, especially when so much was made of his so-called clear record during this trial.”

A friend of the family told us: “They are just devastated. They know that death driving and killing someone carries the same sentence as manslaughter, but they believed McGrenaghan was guilty of the latter.

“They are also furious that he (McGrenaghan) was able to claim innocence based on no previous convictions when it is clear to all of us that while he had not actually been convicted of previous crimes, he was nonetheless guilty of them.

“And God knows what else he did.”

A full report on the court case is on the news/courts area.

Did you know McGrenaghan? What do you think of the jury not being told of his crimes prior to killing an innocent Garda? Email us at info@donegaldaily.com

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