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Bolivian government refuses to honour South American meeting with mother of slain Tipperary man

“All I want is justice and the truth,” Caroline Dwyer, mother of Michael who was shot dead in 2009, said today.

Man shot in Bolivia Michael Dwyer Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE MOTHER OF a Tipperary man shot dead in Bolivia in 2009 has expressed her “disgust” that pre-arranged meetings with government representatives to discuss her son’s killing did not materialise when she visited the South American country last week.

24-year-old Michael Dwyer was shot dead together with two other men during a police raid by Bolivian Special Forces in April 2009.

His mother Caroline has been campaigning to find out why her son was killed ever since.

She first visited Bolivia in 2014, five years after the death of her son in a hotel room in the town of Santa Cruz.

Her visit to the country last week, along with family adviser Catherine Heaney, resulted from a meeting between the Dwyer family and a delegation representing Bolivian president Evo Morales when he visited Ireland last November.

According to the family, confirmation regarding the “establishment of meetings with specific technical experts associated with the investigation into Michael’s killing was provided by Bolivian authorities on 5 July”.

Caroline then travelled to Bolivia last week, and was informed upon arrival that the meetings requested would not be granted, as those with whom she had sought meetings were either potential witnesses in a related trial or were no longer working for the government.

Man shot in Bolivia Michael, pictured with his grandmother Denise Shaw Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

After some pressure was applied, two technical experts peripheral to the shooting investigation were presented. One of those two experts had no recollection of any specifics regarding his involvement in the case.

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“All I want is justice and the truth,” Caroline said today.

Since Michael’s killing, I have worked through diplomatic channels in my attempt to secure an investigation. In recent years, I felt some progress was being made, and that the Bolivian authorities were showing signs of co-operation.
However, my experience of recent days represents a real setback. I travelled to Bolivia in good faith. Emotionally, the journey was not easy. I feel let down and undermined by the Bolivian authorities. The least they could have done was let me know before I took the long journey out that meetings would not be granted.

“Ultimately, my experience has left me with a strong view that, in reality, the Bolivian authorities will never be part of an investigation into my son’s brutal killing. We are now in the eighth year since our great loss. Recall and evidence are fading fast,” she added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has expressed its “serious concerns” over the fact that commitments to meet Caroline were not met when she visited.

“The Department remains in ongoing contact with the Bolivian authorities on this matter,” it said in a statement.

The Department remains committed to providing all appropriate support and assistance to Mrs Dwyer in relation to her continuing efforts to uncover the truth about her son’s death. It is expected that there will be an early meeting between Mrs Dwyer and officials of the Department to review developments on her return from Bolivia.

Read: Mother of killed Michael Dwyer: “My son was an innocent victim”

Read: Michael Dwyer’s mother searches for answers into her son’s death in new film

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