GSOC's Kieran Fitzgerald, wheelchair-bound since fall, reappointed for 5-year term

GSOC's Kieran Fitzgerald, wheelchair-bound since fall, reappointed for 5-year term

By David Raleigh

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commissioner Kieran Fitzgerald, who was left wheelchair-bound after suffering a fall while on holidays in Spain last summer, is to be re-appointed to GSOC for another five-year term.

Mr Fitzgerald, a former RTE journalist and producer, has been progressing well while undergoing rehab at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire.

His sister Louise told the Limerick Leader newspaper, that following the announcement that Mr Fitzgerald's re-appointment had been recommended by the Oireachtas, he was looking forward to getting back to work in 2017.

"He has a very high-level injury, but his mind is as sharp as ever," she said.

Mr Fitzgerald is a former award winning journalist with the national public service broadcaster, and had worked with The Late Late Show, Prime Time and Liveline.

He was named News and Current Affairs Journalist of the Year in 1999 and is a former chair of the Dublin Broadcasting Branch of the National Union of Journalists.

In 2007, he was appointed Head of Communications and Research for the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and in 2011, was appointed to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission itself.

He has a Doctorate in Governance from the School of Law at Queens University Belfast and is a Member of the Executive Committee of the British and Irish Ombudsman Association.

Last June, after sailing with friends from Dublin to Northern Spain, where he was to meet up with his wife, Evelyn, he fell off a wall after a fainting episode.

The father of one from Glin, Co Limerick, but who had been living in Dublin, sustained serious spinal injuries after falling into rocks.

He was placed in an induced coma in a hospital in La Coruna for a number of weeks, and his family kept a daily bedside vigil.

After being brought out of the coma by doctors in Spain he was brought by air ambulance to Ireland in early July where he has been in rehabilitation since.

“He is very determined. He is still in Dun Laoghaire and will be there for Christmas but as soon as possible in the New Year he will be going home," said his sister.

"He is very impressed with the great care he is getting there. He is delighted to be re-appointed to GSOC and said he was looking forward to going back to work as soon as possible in 2017,” she added.

It is expected that Mr Fitzgerald and his co-commissioners, chairwoman Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring and Mark Toland, will be officially appointed by the President shortly.

2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of GSOC.


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