Thursday 18 January 2018

Tragic fire inquest lawyers in 'garda tapes' bid

A photo of Firemen Mark O' Shaughnessy & Brian Murray at the scene during a memorial service
A photo of Firemen Mark O' Shaughnessy & Brian Murray at the scene during a memorial service
Brian Murray (left) and Mark O'Shaughnessy died in fire at disused factory

Gareth Naughton

WICKLOW County Council's legal team has asked that recordings of phone calls made at Bray garda station during the investigation into the deaths of two firefighters be made available to their inquest.

However, gardai say it is unlikely that any tapes exist.

The request for the tapes was made by senior counsel Luán Ó Braonáin before the Dublin coroner at a mention of the inquest into the deaths of Bray firefighters Brian Murray and Mark O'Shaughnessy. The inquest into their deaths is set to resume later this week having already heard 11 days of evidence.

Mr Murray (46) and Mr O'Shaughnessy (25) died as they fought a blaze at a disused ink factory at Adelaide Villas in Bray, Co Wicklow, on September 26, 2007. Last October, Wicklow County Council, the local fire authority, was fined €355,000 after pleading guilty to health and safety violations in relation to the incident.

Mr Ó Braonáin said that since the inquest adjourned in March, there has been information in the media that phone recording was taking place at garda district headquarters in various locations. He claimed that Bray was such a headquarters.


"One can anticipate and one must know that there are telephone calls of discussions between members of An Garda Siochana and members of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) in relation to the arrangements being made for the preservation of the scene; for the examination of the scene; for the arrest of individuals in Wicklow County Council; for searches of Wicklow County Council; for the engagement of experts in relation to inspection of the scene, forensic analysis of the scene; in relation to what caused the fire; what were the consequences of the fire in terms of the unfortunate outcome for the deceased whose deaths are being investigated at the inquest," he said

However, Detective Garda Maurice Hickey told the court that Bray was not made a division headquarters until 2008. He said it was his understanding that calls made by the general public into the control room at the station were recorded but that the recording ceased when calls where transferred elsewhere within the station.

Mr Ó Braonáin also made a similar request to the HSA for any calls recorded relating to their investigation. But HSA inspector Kevin Broderick said that "there are no recordings".

The inquest was abruptly adjourned in March during the evidence of Michael Slattery, a fire investigator.

Irish Independent

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