Tuesday 21 November 2017

Party boat death: gardai probe continues after family identify body by tattoos

Body of Conal Gildea recovered from Grand Canal dock

Conal Gildea
Conal Gildea

A DONEGAL man who died after falling into the Liffey while attending a party on a floating bar had to be identified through his tattoos, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

The body of Conal Gildea (25) from Carn in Ardara, Co Donegal, was recovered from the river at Britton Quay in Dublin’s city centre by the Garda Water Unit on Monday, April 29 this year, two days after he had last been seen on the boat.

At the opening of the inquest into his death yesterday, Inspector Martin Mooney of Pearse Street Garda Station told the Dublin coroner that the matter is the subject of an “ongoing investigation which may lead to a criminal prosecution”.

Requesting an adjournment of the inquest to facilitate the investigation, he confirmed that it is not a homicide issue but relates to issues of “supply”. He said that a number of witnesses have yet to be interviewed.

The court heard that the dead man, who was a prominent member of his local community and a member of Ardara GAA club, was identified by his sister Sarah Gildea. She told the court that she confirmed identification after Gardaí showed her two photographs of tattoos, including one on her brother's right forearm which said “Only God Can Judge Me” and another six-year-old tattoo on his left abdomen. Ms Gildea said that her brother had been living with her at the time of his death and was completing the final weeks of a plumbing apprenticeship. 

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that the post-mortem was carried out by deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis who gave the cause of death as drowning. He told the family that there are “other issues” which he will be going into at a later date.

He adjourned the inquest for further mention on December 12 to allow time for Gardaí to continue their inquiries.

Gareth Naughton

Online Editors

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