Inquiry into death of Real IRA member to examine Garda policies

Inquiry into death of Ronan Mac Lochlainn to be completed within six months

Gráinne Nic Gibb, partner of Ronan Mac Lochlainn, at his funeral in 1998. Photograph: David Sleator

Gráinne Nic Gibb, partner of Ronan Mac Lochlainn, at his funeral in 1998. Photograph: David Sleator

 

A commission of investigation into the shooting dead by gardaí of a dissident republican who was attempting to rob a Securicor van 16 years ago will examine the practices and policies of the force, as well as the killing itself.

The Government yesterday agreed to the establishment of an inquiry into the death of Ronan Mac Lochlainn in May 1998 and it is expected to complete its work within six months.

It is also expected to examine both the specific circumstances surrounding Mr Mac Lochlainn’s death, as well as the practices and policies of An Garda Síochána relating to the operation which led to the shooting.

Mac Lochlainn was part of a gang of six people who mounted an armed robbery in Ashford, Co Wicklow, during the “blue flu” Garda protest.

Evidence before an inquest into his death was that while he was in possession of a revolver at the time, no shots were fired by the robbers while 12 were fired by three gardaí.

Mac Lochlainn, who died of a single bullet to his chest, was a member of the Real IRA: the 32 County Sovereignty Movement commemorates his death every year. From Ballymun, he was 28 at the time of his death.

The move by the Cabinet yesterday follows a decision by the European Court of Human Rights earlier this year, after Mr Mac Lochlainn’s partner, Gráinne Nic Gibb, took a case to the court alleging the investigation into the death had not satisfied the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights.