Dr Jim McDaid
A former government minister has called on anyone with information on the death of Richie Barron to come forward.
Dr Jim McDaid made the appeal this weekend, on the 20th anniversary of the death of the Raphoe cattle dealer.
On Sunday night, October 13, 1996, Mr Barron was out drinking in local pubs celebrating the birth of his daughter’s first child the previous Saturday.
At 12.55 Monday morning, he was discovered lying on the road at Townparks, with a serious injury. He was pronounced dead on arrival an hour later at Letterkenny hospital.
Dr McDaid told the DD/DPP, "I still have the file in my surgery. There were three, maybe even four, different pathologists reports with different opinions as to what happened on that dreadful night.
"In my opinion, it was impossible to arrive at a definitive conclusion as to how Richie Barron met his death,” Dr McDaid stated.
"I'm not, I wish to emphasise, trying to implicate anyone by saying that. It's just that, like every other citizen of this community, I'm sure, I would like the family to be able to have a resolution and some sense of finality.”
He hopes that someone may have information that could help. "If there is anyone out there who might remember something after all these years, I would ask them to come forward.”
The death was initially treated by gardaí as a hit and run but it later turned into a murder investigation.
Members of the McBrearty family, including local publican Frank and his son Frank Jnr, became regarded as suspects.
It was this investigation that led to the events that were probed in a module of the Morris Tribunal which examined the events surrounding the garda investigation and other events across the county involving some members of the gardaí.
Mr McBrearty Snr and his wife Rosalind settled a personal action against the State for €2m, and Frank McBrearty Jnr agreed an out of court settlement for €1.5 million in late 2005.
Mr. McBrearty Snr’s company was also awarded €2.5m for lost business.
The investigation into Mr Barron’s death remains open 20 years after his death.
Cause of death
The cause of Mr Barron’s death remains unsolved and whether the death was due to a road collision or assault has never been established beyond doubt.
The initial post mortem suggested the death was caused by a blunt object. But, following the exhumation in 2001 and further post mortem examinations, the Morris Tribunal concluded that the death was due to a road traffic accident.
The module of the tribunal dealing with the death found Richie Barron was not murdered and that he died as a result of a hit and run. It also found that all of those arrested in the murder
investigation were completely innocent of any involvement in Mr Barron’s death.
Three gardaí lost their jobs as a result of the findings relating to the death and the investigation, while others resigned.
In response to a query, Letterkenny Garda Station issued a one-line statement.
“The investigation into the death of Richie Barron is still open and nobody has been made amenable for his death,” a Garda spokesman said.