The Garda investigation into the death of a schoolboy in the Offaly bus crash was hampered by a lack of proper equipment, it was claimed today.
Michael White, 15, was killed and 32 other students were injured when the bus overturned around two kilometres from Clara while bringing students to school in Rahan.
Garda Bernard Doherty, a scenes of crime investigator, said that the local garda expert had not been able to examine the bus crash.
“He had never been issued with the equipment to allow him to examine the scene,” he said.
At the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) in Galway, Garda Doherty said an experienced public services vehicle inspector, Garda Adrian Tucker, had been called down from Dublin to carry out the investigation of the April 4 crash.
But he said Garda Tucker had been only issued with a theodolite, a device used to take exact measurements at a crash scene.
“He had no camera, he had no measuring tape, he had no spray to paint the road. He did a thorough job and he did have other equipment but he had bought it himself.”
Garda Tucker, who is based at Tullamore Garda station, said the local force had supplied te camera used to take photographs at the scene while Garda Tucker had used a 100 metre long baseline tape he had bought himself.
The lack of adequate equipment such as anti-stab vests, stronger patrol cars and a secure communications system, has been a running theme at the GRA conference.
There are currently around a dozen public service vehicles inspectors around the country who have the expertise to carry out forensic investigations of crash scenes. These investigations are crucial in determining exactly what happened at an accident and providing evidence for any criminal prosecution.
Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy announced last month that forensic criminal investigation units are to be set up in every Garda division.
But Garda Doherty, who is based in Tullamore Garda station, said the forensic investigation of accidents was nothing new.
“They’ve had accident investigation units in the US and Britain since the 1950s.”
The Garda investigation into the Offaly bus crash is continuing.