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Fatal shooting of Real IRA member by gardaí to be investigated

Mac Lochlainn was shot dead by gardaí in May 1998.

Grainne Nic Gib, who was the partner of Ronan Mac Lochlainn
Grainne Nic Gib, who was the partner of Ronan Mac Lochlainn
Image: Joey Cleary/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT IS expected to establish a Commission of Investigation into the fatal shooting of Ronan Mac Lochlainn in 1998.

Mac Lochlainn was shot by members of an Garda Síochána during an armed robbery in Ashford, Co Wicklow, in May 1998.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said that at a meeting on 1 July, the Government decided that matters around Mac Lochlainn’s shooting “are of significant public concern”.

The issue went to the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality today, and has to go before the Dáil and Seanad before the commission is officially established.

Human rights

In 2010, Mac Lochlainn’s partner, Gráinne Nic Gibb, took a case against Ireland under the European Convention on Human Rights, alleging a failure on behalf of the State to carry out an effective official investigation into the shooting, in accordance with the terms of Article 2 of the convention.

During negotiations, a Commission of Investigation was proposed as a means of ensuring the State’s compliance with the Convention.

The negotiations didn’t reach a satisfactory conclusion, said Minister Fitzgerald.

Instead, in a Unilateral Declaration which was submitted to the European Court under Article 62(A) of the Convention, Ireland admitted to a technical breach of the Convention in this instance and, by way of a remedy, offered to conduct a Commission of Investigation into the fatal shooting. In return, the Court was asked to strike out the case.

The case was struck out on the basis of a commission being set up. Fitzgerald said that its establishment “relates to a failure of process on the part of the State into this fatal shooting”.

The commission will look at the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting, and all relevant Garda matters related to the planning and control of the operation which led to the fatal shooting, and also related to the training provided to the personnel who were detailed for the operation.

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The commission is to decide whether the use of force by the gardaí in this instance was proportionate.

Gráinne NicGibb is to be kept involved in the investigation “to the extent necessary to safeguard her legitimate interests”.

It is envisaged that a report from the commission would be due six months after it is set up, and the cost of the investigation is estimated to be in the region of 350,000.

Read: Special Criminal Court trial ‘did not violate human rights’ of IRA member>

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