Tuesday 11 December 2018

Gardaí tell 12 families loved ones may not have died as they were told

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Justin Farrelly
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Twelve families have been contacted by gardaí reviewing the classification of their loved ones' deaths.

Specially trained officers have alerted relatives that their loved one may not have died in the fashion they believed up to now. The figure was revealed by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, who confirmed that a review of potential homicide cases is still ongoing.

The Policing Authority has already criticised delays to the review that began almost a year ago. Two civilian officers have also supplied the Oireachtas Justice Committee with a dossier of their concerns about management's handling of the work.

The Irish Independent previously revealed a number of families will have to be informed their loved one died by homicide. It is understood some of the cases involve dead children.

Mr Flanagan has now confirmed a study of 41 deaths between 2013 and 2015 has identified 12 cases that require reclassification on the Garda Pulse system. "An Garda Síochána has also indicated that its individually designated family liaison officers have been in contact with the families of the 12 deceased persons whose Pulse records required reclassification. That is important," Mr Flanagan said.

However, he added he is satisfied suitable investigations into the deaths took place.

"I reiterate this is a matter of concern. The Policing Authority continues to monitor the issue to ensure there is independent scrutiny regarding the way in which An Garda Síochána records the data," he said.

Fianna Fáil's Jim O'Callaghan told the Dáil it is "important to recall the consequences of misclassification".

"It means the Garda Pulse system does not provide the accurate information essential to the investigation of what may have been a homicide and which is relevant to persons who may be suspected by gardaí of involvement in a homicide," he said.

The Policing Authority is set to publicly question Garda chiefs on the review when it meets on February 22.

Irish Independent

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