Family of man killed in 1987 hit and run seeks damages from State

No charges ever brought after James Clancy (80) struck by a truck in Tullamore, Co Offaly

The family of a Co Offaly man who was killed in an alleged hit and run incident more than 30 years ago have initiated a High Court action claiming damages against the State. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

The family of a Co Offaly man who was killed in an alleged hit and run incident more than 30 years ago have initiated a High Court action claiming damages against the State. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

The family of a Co Offaly man who was killed in an alleged hit and run incident more than 30 years ago have initiated a High Court action claiming damages against the State.

James Clancy (80) died after being struck by a truck on Patrick Street, Tullamore on December 1st, 1987. Nobody was ever charged in relation to the incident.

Arising out of his death, his son Joseph Clancy, acting on his own behalf and as personal representative of his father’s estate, has brought proceedings against the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General. The claim was lodged with the court earlier this week.

The circumstances of Mr Clancy’s death were the subject of an investigation conducted by retired district court judge Mary Collins, who examined the original Garda investigation into the death.

In a report published last December, Judge Collins found that an investigation by a Garda chief superintendent into an unsubstantiated hearsay allegation that Garda members were involved in James Clancy’s death was reasonable and adequate.

Rationale

She also found the rationale for not proceeding with an investigation was “persuasive”. She criticised the force for “an unacceptable lack of communication” with the Clancy family about the status and progress of the initial investigation, and the later investigation into the allegations.

“The family have been left, for the past 30 years, with unanswered questions about the circumstances of their father’s death,” she said. “They have had to endure years of allegations and speculation which is, and has been, upsetting and distressing for them.”

In his proceedings, Mr Clancy’s son, represented by solicitor Kevin Winters, seeks a declaration from the High Court that the defendants acted in breach of his client’s rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.

He also seeks damages, including aggravated and exemplary damages for breaches of the deceased man’s rights, negligence, breach of duty and misfeasance in public office.