Wednesday 17 January 2018

Ombudsman investigates death of man restrained by gardai

Tom Brady, Barry Duggan and Tom Shiel

TOXICOLOGY tests are to be carried out on the body of a father of one who died after being restrained following a row in a late-night bar and restaurant.

A post-mortem examination of the body of Paraic O'Donnell (39) found that he suffered from a number of health issues, including breathing difficulties.

It has yet to be determined whether those difficulties were exacerbated by being held under restraint.

Officials from the Garda Ombudsman Commission are carrying out an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Mr O'Donnell became ill in Cox's bar and restaurant in Castlebar around 1am yesterday. He was asked to leave and then became involved in an argument with doormen in the bar.

During a struggle, he was restrained by staff on the floor while they called the gardai.

When gardai arrived, officers continued to restrain him and put him into the back of a patrol car to take him to the local station, less than a mile away.

After the patrol car arrived at the Castlebar station, they attempted to take Mr O'Donnell out of the vehicle but he did not respond.

They put Mr O'Donnell on the ground and tried to resuscitate him while they summoned an ambulance from Mayo General Hospital in the town.

However, shortly after Mr O'Donnell's arrival at the hospital, he was pronounced dead.

Mr O'Donnell, the father of a five-year-old girl, is the son of Patrick and Peggy O'Donnell, from Aisleim on Achill Island.

His home is located at the end of a quiet road at the most westerly spot on the island, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

None of his family would comment last night. One neighbour said the tightly knit Achill community was devastated by Mr O'Donnell's death.

"He comes from a very good family. We are all very shocked," the neighbour added.

Struggle

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis carried out the post mortem yesterday afternoon. Further toxicology tests have now been ordered.

Meanwhile, two officials from the Garda Ombudsman Commission also arrived in the town after they had been alerted by the garda authorities.

Last night the Ombudsman Commission appealed to any witnesses to the incident early yesterday or anybody with information about Mr O'Donnell's death to contact them on 1890 600 800.

Irish Independent

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