Family of Dara Quigley yet to be contacted by Garda management

‘We’ve just being met with three things - delay, distract and defer’

Journalist and blogger Dara Quigley (36), who died on April 12th 2017, five days after being stopped by gardaí on Harcourt Street and detained under the Mental Health Act 2001

Journalist and blogger Dara Quigley (36), who died on April 12th 2017, five days after being stopped by gardaí on Harcourt Street and detained under the Mental Health Act 2001

 

The family of Dara Quigley, who took her own life last year five days after Garda CCTV footage of her running naked on a Dublin street was shared online, says it has not received any contact from Garda management since her death.

Ms Quigley (36), a journalist and blogger, was suffering from mental health issues when she was stopped by gardaí on Harcourt Street on April 7th, 2017 and detained under the Mental Health Act 2001.

A garda later replayed CCTV footage of the incident and is understood to have recorded it on his phone before sharing it with a WhatsApp group. Another person then uploaded the footage to Facebook where it was viewed over 100,000 times.

Ms Quigley took her own life five days later. This week the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) confirmed the officer accused of initially sharing the video would not face any criminal charges.

Ms Quigley’s mother Aileen Malone told The Irish Times she felt “let down and disappointed” by the decision not to charge the garda.

“There seems to be no accountability. There’s no transparency... I’m sure the proper disciplinary procedures will be carried through but it’s happening in private really.”

It is understood the garda is to face internal disciplinary sanctions which could include suspension or even dismissal from the force.

Ms Malone said she was informed the garda would not face charges because the sharing of the video “wasn’t necessarily a crime”.

The incident has been examined by Gsoc investigators in the context of Section 62 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 which, among other things, forbids the disclosure of information by a garda which could lead to “the publication of personal information and constitutes an unwarranted and serious infringement of a person’s right to privacy”.

‘No contact’

Asked if she or her family had been contacted by gardaí since her daughter’s death, Ms Malone said there had been no contact whatsoever.

“There has been nothing, zero, zilch, nada.” She said a basic acknowledgement of the pain the incident caused would have gone a long way.

A spokesman for the Garda said it could not comment as the Gsoc investigation was still ongoing.

Ms Malone said she was now trying to gather information on Ms Quigley’s actions before her death, specifically if she had seen the video online before taking her life.

The family have spoken to a solicitor about taking legal action against the Garda but are reluctant because of the potential cost involved. “We may look into that in the future,” Ms Malone said.

She praised the Gsoc officers investigating the case, saying they were sympathetic but their hands were tied by a lack of resources and the rules governing Gsoc investigations which, she said, led to lengthy delays in the inquiry.

“We’ve just being met with three things - delay, distract and defer.

“It’s unfair on us as a family because we can’t find closure. The inquest cannot happen until after the whole Gsoc and garda disciplinary process is followed through.

“For the accused garda - there’s no end in sight for them either. They’re stuck in this defensive mode.

“And for the good guards, the sincere and committed gardaí, they’re stuck too. It’s not fair on them,” she said.

Ms Quigley wrote on social issues for the Dublin Inquirer and Broadsheet.ie as well as on her personal blog. She suffered from long-term mental health and addiction issues and since her death her family have called for drastic improvements in the mental health services.

“St James’s Hospital and the psychiatric services were very, very good to Dara and tried very hard but in the absence of linked up mental health and addiction services, it was very difficult for them to get Dara the appropriate treatment that she needed.”

Ms Malone said she was heartened to see the current trend towards treating addiction as a medical rather than a legal issue. “We’ll wait and see how that plays out.”

She added her family did not want vengeance; it wanted answers. “We’re not into vengeance at all. We don’t see how that would help anyone. We want a fairer system, a better system that treats everybody fairly. Because at the moment we’ve got people caught in the system in great pain and there’s no healing, there’s no way out.”