Gerard 'The Monk' Hutch gave his first ever television interview to Paul Reynolds, Crime Correspondent, on last night's Prime Time. Read extracts from the extended internet version of the interview below, in which Hutch discusses informers and murdered journalist Veronica Guerin.
Paul Reynolds: I mean the media just don't make it up, you know I mean they're getting the information from somewhere and in many ways their information is intelligent it's not enough to convict you in a court of law but its good solid intelligence, solid information based on information from people whom they now.
Gerard Hutch: Intelligence, there's a couple of different intelligence and a lot of the intelligence comes from the gardaí and intelligence that comes from an informer who is on the street who is giving it to the gardaí. He'd be regarded as an intelligence officer. And they get put under scrutiny to bring information and it doesn't always be correct.
And if someone wants to put a bad light on someone they'll say things about them and it could be a reliable informer whose giving information. You don't need to check it twice if it's reliable. But if they do that and a reliable informer goes in and gives a bad story about you that's it.
PR: Well informers may just be good citizens working with the gardaí to keep the streets safe. You call them informers but maybe they're people who are doing their civic duty.
GH: Ah no, informers is informers, the citizens who are trying to keep this place straight they are just ordinary people. If they see a crime they'll ring in and report it, that's fair, they're not, I wouldn't regard them as informers. They're just law-abiding citizens. But there is informers out there who are getting paid by the police to gather information. And it doesn't be always accurate the information they give.
PR: And what do you think of them?
GH: I don't really think much of them. They'd be like the Judas at the Last Supper. They do things to suit themselves. They just go out there, that's their job. I mean an ordinary guy in the street rings up and see a problem, yeah he's right, that's good. That's natural. But when you're giving them information and to the guards and the guards are linking it back to the media. I mean there some, there's a lot of guards there, great job, really working hard and then you have an odd bad apple in there and he's linking, he's leaking information out to the media. He's destroying an investigation before it's even finished. There's guards who would condemn his as well you know but that's the nature, that's life.
PR: But a lot of criminals when they find themselves in a tight spot will co-operate with the gardaí and help them and you'd consider them informers.
GH: If a criminal is involved in a criminal activity and then he turns into an informer, he's just covering his own ass. He don't care about no-one. He don't care about the guards, he don't care about no-one. He's out there, he's a criminal, he's robbing, he gets caught, and he wants to save his own bacon. He's probably done more crime that the people is going to squeal on. You give him immunity and, he's probably murdered people and they him immunity to prosecute someone else. I don't think that's right.
PR: It's the only way to get into organised crime unless you have people who talk from within you are not going to break organised crime.
GH: Well if that's the way it is that's the way it is.
PR: That's the way the Veronica Guerin murder was solved.
GH: Yeah, I understand that. Yeah I know that and that's the way they had to do that well you know.
PR: You knew Veronica Guerin?
GH: Yeah, I gave Veronica Guerin an interview a couple of years back in '95. Veronica got information off the police that I was selling drugs and she ran an article on it. I went and I met her and we had a conversation, she writ an article and she told me the police told her I was selling drugs. But when we were finished and she done her research and checked it with other police, she was happy enough I wasn't and she ran that article. But that's life I mean.
PR: Well there's been bullets sent to guards.
PR: Did you know about that?
GH: I've heard about it. I've actually talked to some of the guards who are in the area and they were telling me there was bullets sent to guards' houses and stuff like that, yeah. I am aware of it but.
PR: You were arrested in question in connection with that?
GH: Yeah, yeah. All because the lady love Milk Tray I ended up in the police station.(laughs)
PR: It's not that simple.
GH: But I mean I ended up in there and it was nothing to do with me. And the guards that, not the guards that arrested me, when you get out the cops said I know you were arrested but what can we do it's just arrest the usual suspects and everyone gets took in.
PR: But doesn't it show the insidious the dangerous nature of violent crime and that these people and your nephews are prepared to intimidate guards to send them bullets to tell them we know where you live and to look to follow them home and threaten not just the gardaí but also their wives and their children?
GR: It's terrible for anyone to do that but whether they done it I don't know. Like I mean I'm not a judge I don't go around.
PR: No you don't have to be a judge but you know, you know what's going on.
GH: But I don't know if they done that. Like I know, like, that they're serious allegations to say that someone done that, but I don't know whether they done it.
PR: Well what do you think?
GH: To do anyone, to threaten people like that is very serious.
PR: Do you think it's right?
GH: It's seriously wrong. You can't be doing that. We need the police force, 100%. Every country needs a police force. They have to be there. There's good guy and bad guys. You get a few bad cops in there and it makes everyone think that all the cops are bad. They're not. I know loads of decent cops. In the community in the Buckingham Street area there's a police forum down there. The police are involved in it, they are doing a great job. But you'll get a couple of bad cops will come in and ruin it, you know.