THE Garda Ombudsman removed a senior Garda from an internal probe in Donegal Gardai, the force said in a statement tonight.
The high-ranking officer from Co Leitrim had been appointed to carry out an internal investigation into the handling of the death of well-known Churchill man Seamus Doherty.
Mr Doherty, 67, was found dead in the bathroom of his home on June 17th, 2012 after a violent struggle.
However the father-of-four’s death was not declared a murder until almost three days later.
Although people have been quizzed about his death, nobody has yet been charged with his murder.
Mr Doherty’s death was raised in the Dail last week by Sinn Fein Justice spokesman Padraig MacLochlainn.
The Doherty family has continually expressed serious concerns about the Garda investigation into the death.
Now Deputy MacLochlainn has put down a Dail question on the matter.
Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said Gardai will co-operate with the GSOC investigation.
Deputy MacLochlainn says the Co Donegal family deserve answers and a proper investigation.
“The victim’s family are seeking justice for their late father, a murder victim, after all justice delayed is justice denied. This family have now waited over one year and 7 months for a GSOC investigation, with no end in sight”.
Deputy MacLochlainn’s question asks the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is aware of the lack of cooperation by the Management level of the Donegal division of An Garda Síochána with a Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (“GSOC”) investigation relating to the murder of Mr Doherty.
The victim’s family made complaints at a local level to An Garda Síochána and additionally lodged a complaint to GSOC on the 5th November 2012, regarding aspects of the case and their treatment by An Garda Síochána.
The GSOC investigation was initially investigated in accordance with Section 94(5) of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005, that is a supervised investigation.
However GSOC changed the investigation to an investigation in accordance with Section 95 of the Act.
Deputy MacLochalinn said “It must be highlighted, that the investigation was changed as a result of the lack of cooperation of the management of the Donegal division of An Garda Síochána, which was confirmed in writing to the victim’s family in July 2013.”
In a letter to the family GSOC said they had asked the Leitrim officer to discontinue his investigation – not as a result of his “commendable” work – but because of an alleged lack of cooperation in Donegal
Tonight a Garda spokesman said: “A senior officer from Leitrim did not resign from the investigation into how Garda handled the investigation into the death of the individual.
“As per procedures laid out in the Garda Siochana Act 2005, GSOC decided that they should investigate the complaint into the Garda investigation. As such, GSOC took over the case and, therefore, the senior officer from An Garda Siochana was no longer required to investigate this matter. This complaint and a second complaint on the matter remain under investigation by GSOC.”