Commission of investigation into Garda’s shooting dead of dissident follows sub-standard Garda, DPP inquiries

Minister for Justice says new process into fatality at armed robbery will cost €350,000

Frances Fitzgerald: stopped short of guaranteeing all fees would be paid

Frances Fitzgerald: stopped short of guaranteeing all fees would be paid


A commission of investigation into the shooting dead by gardaí of a dissident republican is being held 16 years later because the inquiries by the Garda, DPP and the coroner’s inquest were inadequate, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has said.

The new inquiry will examine the actions of the Garda in the fatal shooting of Ronan MacLochlainn in May 1998.

“Essentially the task of the commission is to decide whether the use of force by the Garda Síochána in this instance was proportionate,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“The investigations that were carried out by the gardaí, the DPP and the coroners; none were deemed to meet the criteria.”

Legal fees While Ms Fitzgerald said there was precedent for the State to pay the legal fees of any gardaí

or retired officers asked to give evidence to the investigation, she stopped short of guaranteeing all fees would be paid.

The commission of investigation will be conducted by a barrister and will take six months at a cost of about €350,000. It will examine the circumstances of the shooting as well as the policies, practices, procedures and training provided to the Garda during operations like that in which Mr MacLochlainn lost his life.

The dead man’s partner, Gráinne Nic Gibb, took a case against Ireland to Europe in 2010 under the European Convention on Human Rights.

She argued the State had failed to carry out any effective official investigation into the killing, saying this was in breach of the convention.

‘Technical breach’


Mr MacLochlainn was part of a dissident republican armed gang that tried to rob a cash-in-transit van on the main Dublin-Wicklow road near Ashford on May 1st, 1998, on the day of the so-called Garda “blue-flu” when many gardaí rang in sick in a protest over pay.

The Garda had the gang under surveillance and moved in when the robbery started. The crew of the cash van were threatened and when the gang members realised gardaí were at the scene, efforts were made to hijack passing cars to escape.

The 32-County Sovereignty Movement, the political wing of the Real IRA, said the dead man had lost his life on active service. A married man with three sons, Mr MacLochlainn (28) had been in the Provisional IRA since his teens.