TÁNAISTE FRANCES FITZGERALD has decided to establish an inquiry into the handling of the Shane Tuohey death investigation in 2002.
The 23-year-old was found in the River Brosna in county Offaly a week after he went missing.
The garda investigation concluded his death was suicide, but the man’s family believes he was assaulted before he died. They have alleged gardaí failed to properly investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.
Though an inquest recorded the manner of his death was drowning, two American forensic experts hired by the family to look at the case said homicide could not be ruled out.
Lost CCTV tapes
In 2006, an investigation into the handling of the case found aspects of it might have been dealt with more professionally, but it still supported the original finding of probable suicide.
RTÉ’s Philip Boucher-Hayes reported last year that CCTV tapes from around the town, which had been lost by gardaí, turned up in a locker some 13 years after the man’s death. The Tuohey family believes those tapes could contain critical information about Shane’s last movements and about anyone who may have been involved in an altercation with him that night in February 2002.
The case was referred to the government’s Independent Review Mechanism and the Department of Justice confirmed today that a full inquiry will be launched.
It said the Tánaiste had written to the Tuohey family confirming her decision to establish the inquiry, which will look at the circumstances surrounding Shane’s death and at the garda investigation. The department is currently consulting with the Attorney General about the terms of reference and a spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that no decision has yet been made about who will conduct the inquiry.
“The Tánaiste will be in further contact with the family about the matter.”