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Death of dad in cell sparks Garda watchdog probe

A hearse arrives at Tuam garda station, Co Galway, yesterday to remove the remains of father-of-three John Ward (right). Ray Ryan

OFFICIALS from the garda watchdog began an investigation yesterday into the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a father of three in Tuam garda station, Co Galway.

The dead man was named locally as John Ward (36), from Gilmartin Road, Tuam, and originally from Moyne Park, Ballyglunin, Co Galway. He had been arrested by gardai for alleged public order offences at Shop St in Tuam town centre at about 12.30am yesterday. He was taken to the local garda station and placed in a cell.

Some time later, he became unwell. He was treated at the station, but his condition deteriorated and he was pronounced dead at about 4.30am.

State Pathologist Marie Cassidy carried out an initial examination at the garda station yesterday afternoon and the body was later removed to Galway University Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

The sudden death was referred to the Garda Ombudsman Commission. A small area at Shop St in Tuam was sealed off for forensic examination.

A statement from the ombudsman commission confirmed that a local man had been arrested on suspicion of public order offences and taken to Tuam garda station.

"Some time later, concerns were raised about his condition. The man was pronounced dead at the station," the statement added.

Tuam town councillor Owen Ward said that he knew the deceased man well.

"I think that it is just a horrible tragedy and this young man is now gone from his wife and children," Mr Ward added.

Irish Independent