Douch’s mother furious at pay delay for lawyer

The distraught mother of Gary Douch, brutally killed in a preventable tragedy in Mountjoy Prison, has slammed the Department of Justice for failing to pay the barrister who conducted the inquiry into her son’s death for almost four years.

Douch’s mother furious at pay delay for lawyer

Margaret Rafter also strongly criticised prison governors for how they dealt with both her son and his killer Stephen Egan and the “squalor” of Mountjoy Prison at the time. She also criticised the decision of psychiatrists to discharge her son from their care back into the prison system.

Douch, aged 21, died at the hands of Egan, a diagnosed psychotic with a history of extreme violence, in a packed makeshift cell in the basement of Mountjoy on August 1, 2006.

Gráinne McMorrow was appointed in June 2007 to investigate the circumstances of his death and to make recommendations.

The barrister previously confirmed to the Irish Examiner reports, initially revealed on RTÉ, that she had not been paid by the department for almost four years.

As the head of the commission she did not receive a contract, but operated on a presumption there would be no issue with payment.

“Gráinne McMorrow continued to work on this commission even when, unbelievably, she wasn’t paid for three or four years by the Departments of Justice and Finance — which is shameful,” said Ms Rafter in a statement.

“She never once let on to me that she wasn’t being paid — I actually heard it on RTÉ News from Paul Reynolds who had found this out by accident, under Freedom of Information and I was completely stunned and angry.”

Ms Rafter said this was not acceptable, particularly when no one in any other state inquiry — some lasting 13 years — had ever been denied payment.

“I want the Government to see to it that she is now paid every single last penny she is owed. It’s a public disgrace.

“Gráinne also continued to work to finish my Gary’s report — right through caring for her husband Paul through his terminal cancer, and he sadly died at 47 years old only last year. I want to thank her for that, and to extend my condolences to her on the anniversary of his death this week also.”

Ms Rafter strongly criticised prison bosses and governors in Mountjoy and Cloverhill (where Egan was transferred from): “They all dropped the ball, the system did not work, they let my Gary down — all of them.”

She singled out then Mountjoy governor John Lonergan for particular criticism. Mr Lonergan has accepted some responsibility for what happened but said the main factor was overcrowding.

A Department of Justice spokesman last night said it did not comment on matters relating to personal remuneration. But he added: “We can confirm that Ms McMorrow SC was fully paid for her work. Total expenditure for the commission from inception in 2007 to 31st March, 2014 was €2,781,695.”

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