Shatter to meet parents of cadet who died in crash

Justice Minister Alan Shatter is to meet the parents of an Air Corps cadet who died in an air crash because of errors made by his commanding officer, who also died in the crash.

However, Mr Shatter has ruled out a fresh investigation into their deaths.

He told the Dáil he will meet Donal and Liz Jevans next week but decided there is no need for a further inquiry into how their son, Cadet David Jevans, died during a training exercise in October 2009.

Mr Shatter denied the wagons had been circled or that information had been kept from Cdt Jevans’ parents. He said no blame had been attached to Cdt Jevans’ actions on the flight through Connemara, and that the crash had been caused by “serious pilot error” by his instructor.

Mr Shatter said that, despite an ongoing campaign by the family, he felt an independent probe was not warranted — an inquest, a flight investigation report, and a military board of inquiry have all taken place.

He said officials from his department had met the family last month to explain this and would meet them himself next week. He will be accompanied by senior staff from his department and the Defence Forces.

Fianna Fáil defence spokesman Seán Ó Fearghail said the family felt their campaign for answers had been met with resistance and the “system has defended itself against the family seeking to vindicate their concerns”.

“[The family feel] the system has pulled down the shutters and the wagons have been circled,” he said.

Mr Ó Fearghail said the parents of Cdt Jevans had prepared a list of 33 concerns where they believe procedures had not been followed and there had been a failure by the Air Corps to follow proper protocol.

He said that, on the basis of this list, there appeared to be a prima facie argument to support their grievances. These include information the Air Corps had made available to various inquiry teams and lack of involvement by other agencies.

Mr Ó Fearghail also said the Jevanses had complaints about the lack of response from the military police.

The Jevans family has already detailed to the Irish Examiner the nature of their suspicions. They are particularly concerned at not having been allowed to hear the flight recording for the minutes leading up to the crash or to let a independent third party listen to it.

Yesterday, Mr Jevans said their next course of action would depend on the outcome of next week’s meeting. They welcomed the opportunity to explain their concerns.


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