Tuesday 25 October 2016

Undercover garda who gave CPR to dying Real IRA member tells of seeing bullet wound in chin

Clodagh Sheehy

Published 24/09/2015 | 13:06

Ronan Mac Lochlainn
Ronan Mac Lochlainn

An undercover Garda who gave CPR to a dying Real IRA man said he could see a bullet wound in the man’s chin.

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Ronan MacLochlainn (28) from Ballymun, a member of the Real IRA, was shot dead by Gardai during an armed robbery at Cullenmore Bends near Ashford, Co Wicklow on May 1st 1998.

A member of the Garda  National Surveillance Unit (NSU) who gave CPR to Mr MacLochlainn as he lay dying on the road told the MacLochlainn Commission today “I could see a wound on the chin. I knew he was in a bad way.”

He said he thought the wound was the “entry wound” for a bullet.

The Garda continued to give CPR until the paramedics arrived.  At that point he said Mr MacLochlainn was  “not responsive. He had gone very very pale. He got progressively worse as we were working on him”.

The unnamed Garda - given the identity by the Commission as D Garda 32 - had earlier told how when he first arrived on the scene Mr MacLochlainn had been able to give his name and complained about his chest being tight.

Mr MacLochlainn died at the scene from a single gunshot wound.

Gardai fired 12 shots at the scene. None of the six member gang, who were armed with a sawn off shotgun, magnum revolver and assault rifle, fired any shots.

D Garda 32 told how on the day he had been detailed to follow a blue van which had been under surveillance for some days.

He followed it from Heuston station in Dublin in the direction of Wicklow.  He was part of a team and he could not see the van but was following radio instructions from others.

Near Ashford he was told the van had parked up and the occupants were taking roadwork signs out of the back of it.

He was given an instruction to park up which he did in a laneway with two other NSU vehicles.

He said he was out of the car in the laneway talking to a colleague when he heard on the radio a message from D Garda 11 shouting “armed gardai, armed gardai, get down, get down”.

“We knew there was something serious after happening”, he added.

When he left the laneway he turned left on the main Ashford road but the traffic was stopped so he drove on the other side of the road “progressively” towards the scene behind the car of a colleague.

D Garda 32 said he was behind a colleague’s car and when that car braked he spotted a green Mazda coming towards them. The driver was wearing a balaclava. 

A jeep was driving up the inside of the Mazda trying to overtake it and he initially believed this might be driven by suspects but it later emerged this was an NSU vehicle.

In response to questions by Hugh Hartnett SC for the MacLochlainn family, D Garda 32 said he did not hear any shots and did not see any gun.

He stopped his own car and by then two members of the Garda team were at the Mazda car.

He said he “no idea” at that stage that there had been a shooting.

He got out of his car and as he went towards the Mazda the two team members were taking the driver out of the car.

One of them said to him “be careful that man has been shot”.  The ERU team laid Mr MacLochlainn on the ground and asked for someone with CPU training so he went to the man’s aid.

Mr Hartnett asked him if he was aware there was a wound in Mr MacLochlainn’s chest.  He said ‘no’.  He did notice blood on his hands after he finished CPR and did not know where it came from.

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