Family of man killed in IRA bombing in 1988 allowed to continue court challenge

Daughter of Eugene Dalton, one of three killed in Good Samaritan Bombing, seeks inquest

 

The family of one of three neighbours killed in an IRA bombing 30 years ago has secured the right to continue its legal bid for a new inquest after suffering further bereavement.

Dorothy Johnstone initially brought the challenge to the Attorney General’s refusal to order a fresh tribunal into the so-called Good Samaritan attack in Derry, which claimed the lives of her father and two others.

But following Ms Johnstone’s death, senior judges granted permission to substitute one of her sisters, Rosaleen Dalton, into the proceedings.

Speaking outside the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, Ms Dalton said: “It’s really important the case goes on - it’s about getting justice for our daddy.

“We never really had a proper investigation into his death, and we just feel that a new inquest will get get closure.”

Her 54-year-old father, Eugene Dalton, and Sheila Lewis, 68, were killed in the explosion at a house in the Creggan area in August 1988.

A third victim, 57-year-old Gerard Curran, died months after being pulled from the rubble.

The attack became known as the “Good Samaritan Bombing” because the three friends had gone to check on the whereabouts of a neighbour kidnapped earlier by the IRA.

The paramilitary grouping later apologised, admitting it had planted the device in a bid to kill soldiers.

In 2013 Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire published findings that RUC officers had information about an IRA booby trap bomb in a house in the housing estate but did nothing to warn residents of the possible danger.

He identified a failure in the police obligation to protect the lives of the public.

Following his report Attorney General John Larkin QC decided a new inquest was not advisable at that time.

But the Dalton family and their legal team claim it could help to establish responsibility for police failures.

Ordering a new inquest could provide fresh hope of identifying and punishing those responsible, according to their case.

In March 2017 a High Court judge refused to quash Mr Larkin’s decision.

Citing the financial and human costs of a further public hearing which would be unlikely to advance the goal of prosecuting the perpetrators, he ruled the Attorney General was justified in concluding such a step was not advisable.

An appeal against that verdict was plunged into uncertainty after Ms Johnstone passed away.

But the Court of Appeal confirmed today that the case can be continued in another relative’s name.

A full hearing of the challenge was listed for October.