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font color=blue size=5>No charges in Longford shooting

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — The Director of Public Prosecutions has decided that no criminal charges will be brought against any of the Gardai involved in the Abbeylara siege last April.

The controversial 25-hour standoff ended when a 27-year-old Longfordman was shot dead outside his home.

Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne referred a report of an internal inquiry into the incident to the DPP last month. But the decision has prompted the family of the dead man, John Carthy, to again call for an independent public inquiry into the fatal siege.

Carthy’s sister Marie said the family were very disappointed by the DPP’s decision.

"I think it is appalling," she said.

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She said it was obvious that something had gone seriously wrong during the siege.

"Basically all we want is the truth as to what exactly happened. We want all the facts to be made public," she said.

Fine Gael front bench spokesman Jim Higgins called for publication of the Garda report through an early meeting of the all-party Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Women’s Rights.

In a statement following the DPP’s decision, Justice Minister John O’Donoghue said he had already agreed to refer the report to the committee, but he had been advised that motions must first be moved in both the Dail and the Seanad.

"I hope to arrange for these motions to be taken immediately on the resumption of both Houses," he said.

O’Donoghue said he would ask the committee to allow the family to see the report before it was made public.

"In the interim, it is intended that an inquest into Mr Cathy’s death will be held next month," he said.

The shooting has led to widespread disquiet. In June, O’Donoghue called in a five strong FBI team to examine the circumstances surround the incident and report to him.

The Longford man is believed to have been shot four times by the Gardai’s Emergency Response Unit (ERU) after repeated warnings to drop his legally held shotgun.

The internal report is believed to say Carthy left his home with the shotgun opened but, after he had passed through the first Garda cordon, he closed the breach on the gun as he approached a second unarmed cordon.

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