Father wants inquiry into daughter’s death

Declan Magee

Reporter:

Declan Magee

The father of a Donegal woman killed in a car accident 11 years ago has called for Donegal County Council to hold an internal inquiry into the circumstances around her death.

The father of a Donegal woman killed in a car accident 11 years ago has called for Donegal County Council to hold an internal inquiry into the circumstances around her death.

Sean Farren was speaking after it emerged that the Garda commissioner declined a request from the Attorney General of Northern Ireland to release the results of a review of the initial Garda investigation into the death of Sinead McDaid.

Mrs. McDaid died in Altnagelvin hospital after a single-car accident near Culdaff on June 12, 2001, and an inquest was held in Derry in 2003.

Donegal County Council had been carrying out resurfacing work on the stretch of road on the day she died. The 2007 Garda review found omissions were made by the council in the road surfacing operation that was carried out and that there was a breach of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act. However, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to bring a prosecution in the case.

In light of the new information, Mr. Farren asked the North’s attorney general to reopen the inquest. The attorney general asked the Garda commissioner for a copy of the report on the accident but he refused the request.

Mr. Farren said: “I am angry. If they have nothing to hide - give out the file. The guards were paid out of the public purse to do an investigation. If they did a proper investigation, give it out and let it be brought up in front of the coroner. That’s all we asked for. I think it is scandalous. We want to know what omissions were made, who was responsible, what actions can be taken to prevent this happening again and what contributed to our daughter’s death.”

He said that with a new county manager in place and a new mayor recently installed, he would be calling on the council to hold an internal investigation into the circumstances of his daughter’s death.

North West MEP, Jim Higgins, said the decision not to co-operate with the attorney general in the North was “bizarre and illogical”.

“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 Parliament’s Petitions Committee.”

A garda spokesman said the force was not commenting on the matter.