'I'm not involved in crime' says ex-councillor whose home was raided
Jonathan Dowdall, the former Sinn Fein councillor whose home was raided by gardai this week, has gone on Liveline to say that he has no involvement in criminality.
Dowdall hit the headlines yesterday after gardai raided his home in north Dublin.
A BMW car, motorbike, documentation and other valuables were taken by officers shortly after 5.30pm who continued their operations long into the evening.
Gardai at Dowdall's home yesterday (Pic via Independent.ie)
Speaking to Joe Duffy, Mr Dowdall (38) wanted to make it clear that he was not cautioned or arrested by gardai and that he has no links or connections to criminality.
Mr Dowdall also speculated that the fact he was friendly with members of the Hutch family led to gardai raiding his home while he also alleged there was a political motive to the raids, given his links to Sinn Fein.
Mr Dowdall said that the car seized by gardai had finance on it and that he had 'worked his hole off' to earn enough in his electrical business to keep it.
Members of the Garda Water Unit were also called in to aid in the search yesterday and it was reported that a garda diver entered a large aquarium, thought to be worth "tens of thousands of euro", in the shed of the property.
Mr Dowdall confirmed that he kept Japanese koi fish as a hobby and he had a large, outdoor, pond in which he kept the animals. He also confirmed he built it himself.
Mr Dowdall says he was as surprised as anyone to see armed garda units pulling up outside his home on Thursday, saying he managed to open the door "just in time to stop them bursting through".
"I wasn't cautioned or arrested at any point, and I’ve no idea what it was in relation to," he told RTE’s Liveline.
Mr Dowdall said that between 10 and 15 armed gardai searched his home on the Navan Road, near Cabra in north Dublin. The former Dublin City Councillor confirmed reports that a luxury BMW and high-speed motorbike, alongside documentation and other valuables in the home, were taken by officers.
Asked about the BMW by RTE broadcaster Duffy, Mr Dowdall replied: "I have liked cars since I was a child…to this day I'm still breaking my arse to pay for that car…I've a loan for it like everyone else in the country."
"I've got papers for all the cars…and I've up-to-date tax clearance," he continued.
Denying any connections to "criminality or any crime organisation", Mr Dowdall said if he had had any link to crime, "it would have come out during the election".
Mr Dowdall lives in the west of the city now, but hails from the north inner-city and knows people who are related to Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, many of whom have no links to crime.
Queried about his association with the Hutch family, the 38-year-old said: "You know how the inner city works, everyone knows everyone… some of them I'm proud to know, and there's plenty others I've never met.
"Just because someone has the name Hutch doesn’t mean anything… Patrick Hutch is the father and has been a good friend of mine since I was a child.
"It's been in the media all along that this man has no involvement in crime.
"I know that man, that man is a friend of mine… and this [raid] is probably linked to that."
Responding to reports that gardai called in the Water Unit to examine a large aquarium at his home, Mr Dowdall said that, as a hobby, he keeps Japanese carp fish.
Garda divers at the scene on the Navan Road yesterday
"I grow them up and sell them on to some of my friends. It's a hobby and [the aquarium] is something I built myself.
"It's a pond," he continued, saying he has no idea if Gardai were forced to wade though it during their search.
The former Sinn Féin councillor alleged his wife came back to the family home yesterday evening to find a Garda sitting in the house alone on the sofa watching telly with a machine gun beside him.
He claimed the future of his electrical business is now in doubt following the raid.
"There are at least nine electricians with mortgages who are probably going to lose their jobs now.
"I'm worried here… I've worked my arse off since I was 16 and now my whole life has been turned upside down.
"Like any business today, my company is always in overdraft. I borrow, which I've proof of, from the Credit Union down the road for the weeks I'm waiting for payment to come in… it's not a cash business.
"I've been doing work for a particular company in the city centre and one of my staff members was greeted by a management figure [this morning] who put a paper in his face and asked 'What's all this about?!'
"I'm going to lose business over this [raid]."
Mr Dowdall, who left his position on the council after allegations of bullying, was emphatic in his final line on the radio asserting that 'I'm not involved in crime'.