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Son's fury after evidence into shooting of garda father lost

THE son of a garda shot dead during a botched bank raid in 1970 has made a complaint to the force's Ombudsman Commission after much of the evidence was lost or mislaid.

Finian Fallon was just four-years-old when his father Richard died after he was shot twice during a bank raid by paramilitary group Saor Eire at Arran Quay in Dublin.

The father-of-five, aged 44 years-old, was the first garda to be killed in the Troubles.

 

EVIDENCE

Finian has long held the view that the gardai failed in their investigation into his father's murder, and that the government of the time were partially responsible for his death.

He is furious that a huge proportion of the evidence that could have been used to solve the murder has been mislaid.

He says it has been claimed in a book by author Sean Boyne – called The Gun Runners – that a member of the Republican group Saor Eire, who was involved in his father's death, was seen in London in the late 1960s in the company of Padraig 'Jock' Haughey, brother of then minister Charlie Haughey, possibly trying to get guns.

In 1970, then Taoiseach Jack Lynch sacked ministers Haughey and Neil Blaney for allegedly attempting to illegally import arms for the IRA.

The charges against Blaney were dropped, and Haughey was never convicted.

In 2010, a Serious Crimes Review team (SCRT) agreed to review the original investigation into Richard Fallon's death.

But Finian learned that documentation created in the aftermath of the murder was by then no longer available, along with much of the case evidence.

"This shows the lack of care and regard An Garda Siochana and the State has in relation to their responsibilities to my father who gave his life for his country," Finian told the Herald.

"I have now made a complaint on the matter to the Garda Ombudsman."

"It seems the gardai have barely more than a few bullet casings. They even seem to have lost a car connected to the raid."

Three men were acquitted after being tried in court for the murder of Richard Fallon.

Finian said he is not looking for convictions – just for the truth to come out.

"The hurt is not just because the event happened, but also by the way it was dealt with," he said. "The only way to overcome that is to find the truth."

"Am I doing this for me or for my father? The answer to that question changes every time I ask it. I suppose I'm doing it for the family, as a gift to them, that someday we might find the truth," he added.

Finian has continually called for an independent review into his father's death.

 

APOLOGY

He points to the recent findings of the Smithwick Tribunal into the killing of RUC members Harry Breen and Robert Buchanan in an IRA ambush in 1989 as they returned in an unmarked car from a cross-border security conference in Dundalk with senior Garda officers.

This month the tribunal found there had been collusion between gardai member and the IRA in relation to the deaths.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan apologised for the failings identified in the report.

"I think the gardai only apologised because the Smithwick Tribunal, an independent review, left them with no option," said Finian.

"My ultimate goal is an independent review. I want the truth. I'll always be hopeful for a resolution, but I'm less expectant as the years go by.

"You hear people talking about 'historical crimes' but to the family that suffered the trauma it is not a historical thing. It is with them every day."

cfeehan@herald.ie


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