Sergeant Padraig Moran (48) Phoenix Ave, Castleknock, Dublin 15 worked at the scenes of crime unit attached to Mountjoy Garda Station.
A father of three originally from Gurteen, Co Offaly, he was a member of the Offaly Under-21 football team that won the All-Ireland in 1988. He died on October 5 2015.
Two years before his death, Sgt Moran was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, a neurodegenerative condition that leads to cognitive, emotional and physical symptoms including involuntary movements.
Mr Moran joined An Garda Siochana in 1990, his wife Fiona Moran told Dublin Coroner’s Court. He loved his work and embraced it, she said. He was looking forward to the Offaly county final on October 11 2015, as the All-Ireland winning panel he was a member of was due to be celebrated.
“He found (work) a great challenge, he got on well with everyone at work and treated them as friends, not subordinates. We told each other everything,” she said.
“He always faced his problems and dealt with them. He was the most positive person,” Mrs Moran said.
Tragically, Sgt Moran was at Dublin Coroner’s Court on the morning of his death for an inquest at 11am. CCTV footage showed him leaving the court and crossing to Store Street garda station where he appeared not to be able to remember the garda access code.
In the weeks before his death, he’d begun to display ‘out of character’ behaviour and his wife was ‘getting worried about him,’ she said. An involuntary movement caused him to knock a drink in a restaurant and he was embarrassed, the court heard.
On the morning of his death, witness Jacqueline Stone was crossing Matt Talbot Bridge a few paces behind a man she later became aware was Sgt Moran around 10.10am.
“All of a sudden he appeared to throw a blue folder over the bridge and then just held onto the railing and went over. It all happened so fast,” she said. His body was later recovered from the river and death was pronounced at the scene at 3pm. The cause of death was drowning and toxicology analysis was negative for alcohol and drugs.
Investigating officer Inspector Des McTiernan said he contacted expert witnesses in relation to Huntington’s and said the disease could cause a sufferer to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.
“We all looked up to Padraig, he was a strong, reasonable, outstanding member of An Garda Siochana,” Insp McTiernan said.
Taking note of Sgt Moran’s diagnosis and documented behaviour, Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned an open verdict.