Gardaí express regret over Carthy death

The garda force expressed its regret at the death of John Carthy tonight and offered the sympathy of all members to his family.

The garda force expressed its regret at the death of John Carthy tonight and offered the sympathy of all members to his family.

A spokesman said Commissioner Noel Conroy would consider every aspect of the Barr Tribunal report, which found the shooting should not have happened and blamed three senior officers for the death of the 27-year-old manic depressive.

Superintendent Kevin Donohoe said many of the recommendations contained in retired High Court Judge Robert Barr’s 744-page report had been implemented in the six years since Mr Carthy was shot dead by two members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit following a 25-hour siege in Abbeylara, Co Longford.

“An Garda Siochana regret the loss of life in any circumstances and the outcome of the siege at Abbeylara, which resulted in the death of John Carthy is very much regretted,” he said.

“As previously expressed at both the Tribunal and the Inquest, the sympathies of all members of An Garda Siochana are offered to Mrs Rose Carthy and the extended Carthy family.”

Mr Justice Barr called for an overhaul of garda command structures, the introduction of non-lethal weapons and training for garda officers in dealing with people suffering from mental illnesses in his report.

He also found scene commanders, Supt Joe Shelly and Supt Michael Byrne, and to a lesser extent, ERU tactical commander Det Sgt Gerry Russell were ultimately responsible for Mr Carthy’s death.

Supt Donohoe said the Commissioner had noted, what the report refers to as, ‘deficiencies’ and would examine each of them with a view to taking whatever action is appropriate.

“Bearing in mind that this incident occurred over six years ago, many of the recommendations made within the report have already been implemented,” he said.

“Those which remain outstanding will be given due consideration by the Garda Commissioner.”

Supt Donohoe said the force is continually evolving and he pointed out some measures already implemented, including:

:: The selection and training of ‘On Scene Commanders’ across each region;

:: Compilation of an On Scene Commanders’ Manual;

:: The provision of an Executive Leadership Training Programme for senior officers;

:: Ongoing Negotiator Training and maintenance of a panel of officers available for deployment;

:: Provision of awareness training in the area of mental health within the Garda Student/Probationer Education & Training curriculum;

:: Inclusion of mental health awareness training within the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) curriculum and Promotion, Management & Development courses;

:: Provision of less lethal weaponry and training to members of the Emergency Response Unit.

“As the report is closely studied, all other outstanding aspects will be considered and the Commissioner is committed to taking whatever action is appropriate in each aspect,” Supt Donohoe added.

The Carthy family has urged the Garda Commissioner and Justice Minister Michael McDowell to deal with the report’s criticism and said those responsible for John’s Death should be brought to account.

The Chief Inspector of the new Garda Inspectorate, Kathleen O’Toole, is to immediately review Garda procedures and practices following the publication of the Barr report.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Minister McDowell have apologised to Mr Carthy’s family in the wake of the publication of the report.

The Dáil is to hold a full debate on the report into the April 2000 incident following the summer recess.

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