Philip Comyn described Bishopstown-based Garda Tim Twomey, who retires this week from An Garda Siochána, as key to the work of the city coroner’s office in ensuring the smooth and efficient holding of inquests.
“He plays a very important role, not only in the operation of inquests, but also in the helping of families and public attendance,” Mr Comyn said.
An inquest is a formal legal process, held in public, to establish the facts surrounding sudden deaths. It often has to explore complex and sometimes distressing evidence. Staff in the coroner’s office go to great lengths to support families attending an inquest.
Before formally opening inquests, last Thursday, Mr Comyn singled Garda Twomey out for the way he has interacted with families over the years. “He has always dealt with them in a very kind and empathetic manner and was always available to them,” the coroner said.
Garda Twomey, who dealt with several high-profile tragedies, including the Tit Bonhomme trawler accident and the Manx2 plane crash, said he always tried to put the families of the deceased first. “The cases involving children were the saddest,” he said.
“But every case before the coroner’s court is a tragedy for the family involved and they are the most important people on the day of an inquest. They have to be put at ease.”
Garda Twomey, originally from Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, joined An Garda Siochána in November 1983. He served in Dublin, before moving to Cork, first to Togher and then relocating to Bishopstown Garda Station 16 years ago. Given its proximity to Cork University Hospital, Garda Twomey spent most of this time liaising with the coroner’s office on sudden death cases.
Mr Comyn said Garda Twomey has played a key role in helping to prepare files for the coroner’s court, in arranging the attendance of various witnesses, and in ensuring the smooth running of each inquest. “Now that his time with us is coming to an end, I would like to wish him a happy retirement and wish him and his wife, Marie, many years of happiness with their children, Ciara, Luke and Eva,” he said.
Sgt Fergus Twomey, who presents evidence on behalf of the State at each Cork City inquest, said his retiring colleague “is a true professional and has been a great ambassador for the gardaí. He epitomises all that is good about the gardaí”.