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Family of man who died while in custody in Cloverhill say they have been left 'in the dark'

Ivan Rosney died on 28 September.

Ivan Rosney.
Ivan Rosney.
Image: Family photo

THE FATHER OF a man who died while in custody in Cloverhill Prison said he and his family have been “left in the dark” over the incident and will “not stop” until he gets justice for his son.

Ivan Rosney died following an incident which led him to being restrained by prison officers on 28 September. 

He had a history of mental health issues and was in Cloverhill for breaching a barring order after he had become physically aggressive with his father. 

A full investigation has been launched by gardaí as well as the Inspector of Prisons. Both these investigations are still ongoing. 

Despite the Rosney family’s attempts to be updated on the matter, Ivan’s father Des said they have heard “nothing” despite their attempts to get information on the incident.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Des said: “Ivan died at the end of September and ever since then we have not known what happened to him other than he died after he was being restrained by officers. We got a call from the Governor’s office and then we had a guard come down in the first few days. Ever since then we’ve heard nothing.” 

Des described how his family have been left heartbroken since Ivan’s death and that the uncertainty around his passing has made matters even worse for Ivan’s three children. 

“We just want to know what has happened. I don’t know why they can’t just keep us up-to-date. We keep hearing rumours and other bits of information. We want to be told what happened. I know there is an investigation but surely Ivan’s family should be told. 

“I haven’t heard a word from the prison or the guards in the last few weeks, it’s all gone very silent. Everything has gone eerily very quiet. I haven’t heard from the Garda liaison officers in a long time also.”

Events leading to Ivan’s death

Des explained that gardaí were often called to his home in Offaly when Ivan was becoming too much to handle. He said that the gardaí “always did a great job by Ivan” and brought him to the hospital when he needed to go or placed him in the cells “when it was the best thing for him”. 

In the weeks leading up to Ivan’s death, the Rosney family had noticed Ivan was becoming more and more unstable and was getting aggressive more easily. 

“This time around, they took him away for the barring order,” Des explained. “He was put in Cloverhill and he was to appear in court via the videolink.” 

However, on the day Ivan was due to go to court there was an incident which led to him having to be restrained by prison officers. 

He was pronounced dead a short time later. The cause of death is not yet known as the autopsy was inconclusive. Further tests are currently being carried out to determine how Ivan died. 

The autopsy found no evidence of heart attack, stroke or brain haemorrhage, according to Des.

The Rosney family has set up a number of social media channels to try to spread the message about Ivan’s death. Des has also contacted several TDs to try to bring more attention to his son’s case. 

Des said he doesn’t matter what the outcome is, he just wants justice for his son. 

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said:All deaths in custody are investigated by the Irish Prison Service, the Inspector of Prisons and An Garda Síochána, who investigate where circumstances warrant. The cause of death is determined by the Coroner office.” 

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Gardaí confirmed investigations into the death are “ongoing”.

A spokesman said: “Gardaí are investigating all the circumstances surrounding the death of a male inmate at Cloverhill Prison on Monday 28th September 2020. Investigations ongoing.”



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