Monday 23 October 2017

'If gardaí had really carried out tests, my little boy might be alive'

'If the figures were correct, if breath tests had been carried out and the checkpoints were happening, we might not be having this conversation' - Gillian Treacy, mum of Ciarán (4)

Gillian Treacy at a memorial tree for her late son Ciarán, who was killed by a drunk driver at Ballymorris, Portarlington. Photo: Mark Condren
Gillian Treacy at a memorial tree for her late son Ciarán, who was killed by a drunk driver at Ballymorris, Portarlington. Photo: Mark Condren

Robin Schiller

The mother of a four-year-old boy killed by a drink-driver has called for gardaí to be held accountable over the breath-test scandal.

Ciarán Treacy (4) died after the car he was travelling in was struck by another vehicle driven by Finbarr O'Rourke near Ballymorris, Co Laois, on April 17, 2014.

O'Rourke had consumed 10 pints of cider before the fatal collision and was jailed for seven-and-a-half years, later reduced by 18 months.

The collision occurred during the period when up to 1.5 million breath tests were falsified, between 2009 and 2017.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Ciarán's mother Gillian Treacy said officers - including the Garda Commissioner - had to be held accountable over the scandal.

"If the figures were correct, if breath tests had been carried out and the checkpoints were happening, we might not be having this conversation. There is every possibility he [O'Rourke] would have been breathalysed," she said.

Gillian's son Ciarán
Gillian's son Ciarán

"Every guard in the stations has to be held accountable. They have to be brought to task and that goes all the way to the top.

"If gardaí were getting pressured by Nóirín O'Sullivan, or whoever, to exaggerate figures to keep the public happy, then she is going to have to be held accountable as well."

Read More: Ministers run for cover in latest row over gardaí's 1.5m fake breath tests

Ms Treacy also described how her family were angered after news emerged about the scale of breath tests being falsified. In the Laois/Offaly Garda division, where the fatal collision occurred, almost 40,000 bogus tests were recorded.

"We were quite angry and hurt when we heard about the breath tests. It goes back to the same thing, if gardaí weren't exaggerating and provided real figures; actually carrying [tests] out, then we would probably have Ciarán in our lives today.

"We were driving along, getting ready for Easter and I suppose realistically, if there were checkpoints there for the bank holiday, it might not have happened."

Donna Price, chairperson of the Irish Road Victims' Association, said trust in gardaí had been "utterly shattered".

"We are appalled to hear that the drink-driving figures are incorrect and it is quite unbelievable. We want to have trust in An Garda Síochána, but that trust has been utterly shattered. There must be some accountability for the 1.5 million fake breath tests in order for confidence to be restored urgently in our policing service," she said.

"The lives and safety of our families depend on it."

Irish Independent

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