Momentum for Dwyer death inquiry increasing, says family


THE FAMILY of late Irish man Michael Dwyer said meetings in Brussels yesterday increased the momentum for an international investigation into his death.

Irish MEPs yesterday called on the Bolivian authorities to account for the circumstances of his fatal shooting by police three years ago.

Commitments to proactively engage with the issue and to raise it with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore were given to the family by a number of Irish MEPs during meetings yesterday.

The Dwyer family described as “very positive” the meetings with Irish MEPs and officials from Ms Ashton’s office.

The family travelled to Brussels to generate support for the EU seeking accountability on the issue from Bolivian authorities.

Yesterday, Mr Dwyer’s mother Catherine said the family would not rest until it secured an independent inquiry into his death.

“We are hoping that we will eventually get the answers and make sure that those responsible for authorising and killing Michael are held accountable, fully accountable,” she told RTÉ.

The 24-year-old Tipperary native was one of three men killed on April 16th, 2009, in a hotel in the city of Santa Cruz. The Bolivian government claims the incident was an armed confrontation with police, but this has been rejected by the family.

“From all the evidence available there was no shoot-out, Michael never fired any guns, he was unarmed, he was executed while he was asleep,” his mother said.

Labour MEP Phil Prendergast said it was “high time” Bolivian authorities accounted for the circumstances of his death. They “have to realise that this is not going to go away and we are going to continue to apply pressure”, she said.

Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly said the Bolivian government and police had “a responsibility to provide answers to the Dwyer family”.

If the Bolivian authorities refused an open inquiry, the EU should consider possible sanctions and reassess its aid, he said.

Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell also called for an independent inquiry yesterday. Last week he visited Bolivia as part of the EU’s development committee, and raised the case with both Bolivia’s foreign minister David Choquehuanca and the country’s vice-president Alvaro Garcia.

Mr Dwyer’s father Martin and sister Aisling also travelled to Brussels for the meetings. “What we really want is an international inquiry and hopefully by MEPs putting pressure on the Bolivian government we can get something like that,” Martin Dwyer said.

His sister Aisling recalled her brother yesterday. “He was bright and bubbly, and he was a very good big brother and he was always looking out for us and the life and soul of every party. He was just a good guy.”

The Bolivian government claims Mr Dwyer was part of a group hired by opposition figures to assassinate President Evo Morales. The family rejects this account. The third anniversary of Mr Dwyer’s death is on Monday.