Carthy family call for independent garda monitor

IN the wake of the apology by gardaí for the death of John Carthy, family members want an independent body to monitor a committed overhaul of garda structures.

It emerged yesterday that Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy had gardaí personally deliver a one-page letter to the Carthy family stating the force was “truly apologetic”.

The dead man’s older sister, Marie, and his widowed mother, Rose, are said to be “relieved” by the correspondence.

In his letter, Commissioner Conroy has committed to fulfilling recommendations made by Justice Robert Barr in his recent tribunal report on the siege.

Mr Carthy, 27, who suffered from bipolar depression, was shot dead by a member of the garda emergency response unit (ERU) following a stand-off at the family home in Abbeylara, Co Longford, in April 2000.

Justice Barr’s suggestions include changes for garda weapons, command structures and professionals at sieges, garda training as well as the force’s handling of those with mental illnesses in general.

Mr Carthy’s family, while not directing who should oversee the proposed changes, want the appointed group or individual to be independent of the force.

“The Carthy family hope that an appropriate, independent mechanism will now be put in place to monitor the garda’s progress in this regard,” said a statement from a representative for the family yesterday.

The newly appointed garda inspectorate is expected to take on the monitoring of Justice Barr’s proposals.

Commissioner Conroy has pledged in his letter to “implement all recommendations”, according to a spokesman for the family.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell has already said a copy of the Barr report was forwarded to Kathleen O’Toole, the head of the new garda inspectorate.

Her role is to examine operational, investigative, managerial and policing strategies within the organisation to ensure best practice.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether the Carthy family will sue the State for the force’s actions in 2000. Marie Carthy has said they would not “rule out or rule in a legal action”.

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