Family wants to know why inquest took 36 years

A Limerick family wants Justice Minister Alan Shatter to find out why it took almost 36 years to hold an inquest into the death of their brother.

Building labourer John O’Driscoll was 24 when he died after being struck on the head with a pool cue in a pub in Castleconnell. Local milkman Michael Coffey was given a two-year suspended jail sentence at Limerick Circuit Court in May 2007 for manslaughter.

An inquest in Limerick yesterday recorded a verdict of manslaughter and noted death was due to a brain haemorrhage, due to a blow on the side of the head and neck.

Afterwards, members of the O’Driscoll family called on the minister to investigate the delay in convening an inquest.

John O’Driscoll, who lived at St Patrick’s Villas, Castleconnell, was drinking and playing pool in Lilly Sweeney’s pub, Daly’s Cross, on Aug 2, 1976.

Mr O’Driscoll and Coffey were slagging each other. Patrick Keane yesterday said the slagging was continuing when he went to the toilet. On returning, he saw John O’Driscoll crouched on a seat and was told Coffey had struck him.

Retired garda sergeant Brendan Edwards said that on arriving at the scene at 6.15pm, Mr O’Driscoll appeared to be dead.

An autopsy report by the late state pathologist Dr John Harbison concluded that Mr O’Driscoll suffered a brain haemorrhage consistent with a blow to the side of the neck and head.

His sister, Peggy Kearse from Ennis, Co Clare, said she only realised an inquest had not been held until she went looking for her brother’s death cert last January.

“We now intend going to a solicitor with the intention of going to the minister to find out why it has taken so long. Our mother Christina said before she died she would never know what happened to her son. She was heartbroken. It killed her.”


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