The decision by the Garda Commissioner not to co-operate with the Attorney General for Northern Ireland to mount a fresh inquest in to the death of young Co Donegal woman in a road traffic accident has been described by Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins as “bizarre and illogical.”
Sinead McDaid, from Carndonagh, was just 22 when her car went out of control just hours after Donegal County Council has resurfaced a stretch of road at Dunross, between Culdaff and Malin.
According to Mr. Higgins the decision adds further pain to a grieving family who are determined to establish the full facts and circumstances surrounding the tragic death of their daughter.
In a statement Mr. Higgins said “On 12th of June 2001 Sinead McDaid who was aged 22 years was driving unaccompanied when her car went out of control on a section of roadway which had earlier that day been re-surfaced by Donegal County Council.
“Her car left the road and landed in an adjacent field. She was taken by ambulance to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry where she subsequently died.”
In July 2003 an inquest was held in Derry and a verdict was returned that the death was due to multiple injuries arising from a road traffic collision.
An Garda Siochana attended the inquest.
Sinead’s father, Sean (pictured) wrote to the Garda Commissioner on the 19th of September 2005 complaining that all the circumstance surrounding his daughter’s death had not been properly investigated.
He listed a number of question to which he felt the family was entitled to answers.
In December 2005 the then Deputy Commissioner Fachtna Murphy appointed Superintendent Padraig Kennedy of Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station to carry out an independent review of the initial investigation and to conduct such further or new investigations as were deemed necessary to progress the matter to a conclusion.
In February 2007 Supt. Kennedy concluded his investigation, he concluded that grave acts of omission were committed by Donegal County Council in the manner in which they conducted their road surfacing operation on the section of roadway on which Sinead’s accident occurred and in his opinion it disclosed a breach of Section 13 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997, in other words ‘reckless endangerment.’
On the basis of the findings of Supt. Kennedy’s report the Farren family contacted the Attorney General for Northern Ireland requesting a further inquest in to their daughter’s death.
The Attorney General contacted Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan requesting the release of a copy of Supt. Kennedy’s report n the 16th of July 2012 the Attorney General forward a copy of Commissioner Callinan’s reply to Sinead’s father in which the Commissioner refused the release of the copy of the report.
MEP Higgins said today “Apart from the hurt and frustration to the deceased’s family the Commissioners’ refusal has implications for all inquests in Northern Ireland where the accident scene is in the Republic and the fatality is the subject of an inquest in Northern Ireland.
“I believe that this decision by the Commissioner is not alone illogical, it is contrary to European Law and flies in the face of enhanced co-operation as envisaged as part of the Good Friday Agreement.”
“I am taking up this serious matter with the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and if necessary I will ask for a full hearing on the matter before the European Parliaments Petitions Committee.”