Category: Archive

Leaked report of Longford shooting sparks Dail row

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — The leaking of portions of the internal Garda report into the fatal shooting of a 27-year-old County Longford man after a siege on his home in April has caused a row in the Dail and is to be investigated on the orders of the Garda commissioner.

John Carthy had earlier fired a series of shots from his own shotgun during the 25-hour standoff near the village of Abbeylara on April 20.

He was shot by members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit after allegedly ignored warnings to drop the weapon when he walked out of the house.

The incident has led to widespread disquiet and calls for a public inquiry.

In June, a five-strong FBI team was called in. Justice Minister John O’Donoghue said its role was to "assist" the Garda probe.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

"What they will do is assess the handling of the operation as a whole by reference to international best practice. I expect their input will be reflected in the chief superintendent’s report," O’Donoghue said. "The primary purpose is to ensure that any lessons that may need to be learned from this tragic death will be learned."

The leaked reports say Carthy was shot four times. It is claimed that he 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.

It was then that gardai opened fire. Carthy is alleged to have been shot twice in the legs and then in the stomach. The final shot pierced his heart and killed him.

It is claimed the report is critical of gardai for not doing more to facilitate a request by Carthy to speak to his lawyer, Michael Finucane.

According to the leaks, a failed bid by Carthy’s sister Mary to see her brother during the siege is defended on the basis it would not have been safe for her to enter the house.

She has claimed she could have talked her brother out of continuing.

The family would make no comment on the leaks.

In the Dail, Tanaiste Mary Harney condemned the "selective leaking" and the Fine Gael justice spokesman, Jim Higgins, called for immediate publication of the full report and the setting up of a public inquiry.

Higgins has said the use of weapons like Heckler and Koch 33 assault rifles and Uzi submachine guns by gardai in the siege was far in excess of what was required.

Fine Gael TD Louis Belton, who represents the area, said he understood the report of the internal inquiry was with Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne but had not reached O’Donoghue.

"I am 21 years in public life and this issue has annoyed so many people that it has been one of the most upsetting things in my political life," Belton said.

Michael Farrell of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties said an independent public inquiry would look at all aspects of the siege, including not just the security situation but also the rights of Carthy and how a repetition the incident could be avoided.

He was dismissive of the involvement of the FBI. "They come from a violent, gun toting society," Farrell said. "I don’t think they are appropriate people at all to be inquiring into this."

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese