Greenvale Hotel deaths: Secure all evidence before demolition, says father of deceased

Hotel owner has sought planning permission for the redevelopment of the hotel site

Greenvale Hotel owner Michael McElhatton confirmed an application was made on Wednesday with Mid Ulster Council for planning permission for the redevelopment of the hotel site.  File photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Greenvale Hotel owner Michael McElhatton confirmed an application was made on Wednesday with Mid Ulster Council for planning permission for the redevelopment of the hotel site. File photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

 

The father of a teenage boy who lost his life outside the Greenvale Hotel on St Patrick’s night says he wants all evidence linked to his son’s death to be obtained before the premises is demolished.

Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17), and Connor Currie (16), died after being caught in a crush of hundreds of teenagers who were seeking entry to a disco at the hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone on March 17th.

On Thursday hotel owner Michael McElhatton confirmed an application was made on Wednesday with Mid Ulster Council for planning permission for the redevelopment of the hotel site.

A statement issued on behalf of the hotel said: “There are no immediate plans for a change of use of the premises which will continue with its current operations for the foreseeable future.”

Mr McElhatton said he did not wish to make any further comment about his reasons for the application.

Morgan Barnard’s parents, James Bradley and Maria Barnard, welcomed the proposed demolition announcement and said they are keen to establish if their son’s death could have been prevented.

At the end of March outgoing PSNI chief constable Sir George Hamilton had asked the Police Ombudsman to investigate the initial police response after it emerged that first responding officers had withdrawn from the scene to await further police support.

Mr Bradley said: “All we are asking us for the truth to be told. We have learned more in the last number of weeks, than we have in the last number of months. It is imperative that there is truth and accountability so that tragedy’s like this do not happen again.

“We welcome news that the hotel will now be demolished. However we want to make sure that all relevant evidence is obtained before that happens.”

Timing

Mr Bradley’s lawyer Darragh Mackin said the key issue from his client’s perspective is the timings of events and whether the deaths could have been prevented.

“The truth in this case is ever evolving,” he said.

“Recent weeks have established that an independent and effective investigation is conducted without delay.”

“We have now engaged with the police ombudsman.

“The family have made their concerns clear and we now look forward to further engagement in ensuring that the truth is established given the real concerns established by the facts now known to the family.”

Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy has said it is important the local community is kept up to date on any plans for the future of the hotel.

“The news of the planning application will have come as a surprise to many people and of course it is only natural that their thoughts will be drawn to recent events at the Cookstown venue,” he said.

“This application is at a very early stage and is a decision that the owners will not have taken lightly given the events of St Patrick’s night. However, this process will not happen overnight and any development, if it happens at all, will not take place quickly, it would be a number of months before planners will have made a full decision.

“It is important that people who have bookings with the Greenvale for weddings or events are kept fully informed of what the plans are.”