Historical Experience

Eamon Hession

18 June 2021

MALCOLM MACARTHUR

Eamon HessionOn 22 July 1982, thirty-seven-year-old Malcolm MacArthur murdered a nurse named Bridie Gargan (aged 27) who while trying to steal her car. MacArthur, born ON 17 April 1945, was a well-known eccentric character in Dublin social circles, who turned to robbery to fund his lifestyle. Three days later, Mac Arthur travelled to Edenderry, where he visited a farmer Dónal Dunne, on the presence of purchasing a gun from him. He then murdered Dunne with his own shotgun after examining it. MacArthur then stole Dunne’s car and drove it to Dublin. In events described by then-Taoiseach Charles Haughey as “grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented”, (referred to in the recording as ‘GUBU), gardai investigating the case found Macarthur hiding out in an apartment owned by the then-Attorney General Patrick Connolly. He spent thirty years in prison and was released from Shelton Abbey low-security prison in Co Wicklow in September 2012. A documentary on the episode can be seen HERE.

RITA DELANEY: Absolutely. Absolutely. Ehm, one of the most fascinating cases that I recall or you would see it on reeling in the years and that, was the case of Malcolm MacArthur, and you were involved in that investigation, Eamon?

EAMON HESSION: Well, I suppose, I was involved in it not in the real investigation, but I was on duty all that time and I was on duty on the evening, the evening he was found in, ehm, Pilot View in Dalkey in the Attorney General’s house, I was on duty that day. It was, really, it was, and you know, with the whole investigation at the time and he used to buy the paper outside Eason’s, which was at the junction of Marine Road and two Georges, Georges Street and Upper Georges Street and I knew the paper seller well and Malcolm MacArthur was supposed to have bought the paper there regularly off him and little did we know, driving around, that there was our man, you know. It would have been a big case if a person knew, you know … But that evening, anyway, we were on duty, we were up around the Dalkey area and we went to Pilot View, but as you know yourself, events took over and all that. The Detectives from the CDU and special branch and our own Detectives, they all took over the investigation. But it was, it was some occasion and as we all know, the phrase GUBU came from that, Rita.

MS. DELANEY: That is correct, that is correct and the confusion was Mr Haughey, I think, either in America or was on his island, I can’t recall what it was, but there was confusion, a lot of confusion, you know.

MR. HESSION: That’s right. And the Court case, I mean, it was the old Garda station in Dun Laoghaire where you drove down a laneway to a very narrow – the media descended on Dun Laoghaire that time and when he was brought to the station and brought into town and we did the escort, I did the escort along with my driver, Paddy Bohan, Lord be good to him, who was with me, as I told you, for 12 years in the car, we did the escort into prison, into Mountjoy with him at the time. Now along with several other cars, you know, I mean, it was, ’twas a big operation. So it was an exciting time.