Family accuses gardaí after man's suicide

A man who hanged himself had been subjected to garda harassment in the weeks before his death, his family claimed today.

A man who hanged himself had been subjected to garda harassment in the weeks before his death, his family claimed today.

Matthew Fagan, the father of Declan Fagan (aged 28) from Summerhill in Dublin 1, told the Dublin City Coroner’s Court that in the weeks prior to his son’s death on May 29, 2004 his personality had changed.

He claimed his son had been charged in relation to a robbery which he had nothing to do with.

From the back of the coroner’s court, his sister Anita Fagan said: “They just never let him alone, making gun signs to his head in front of his girlfriend.

“I am never going to get my brother back but I just want a bit of justice. They (gardaí) were making gun signs, saying Declan watch out.

“If he was mentally unbalanced he needed some treatment rather than mind games. It could have pushed him over the edge.”

Dublin City Coroner, Dr Brian Farrell, was given a garda file compiled by Sgt Walter O’Connell of Store Street Garda Station addressing the family’s concerns over possible harassment.

The inquest heard the substantial file contained a number of statements, including two from specific gardai the family allege had harassed him, and custody records.

Mr Fagan said he was taken to Store Street Garda Station about six weeks ago and the contents of the file were read over to him.

“I disagree with him completely,” the father said.

The conclusion of the Garda report stated: “It is clear from the investigation Declan Fagan’s life ended at a young age in what can only be described as tragic circumstances.”

It stated members of An Garda Síochána did not play a role in the harassment alleged.

“They had acted in good faith in their roles as members of An Garda Síochána,” it stated.

The report also concluded Mr Fagan had been less than co-operative with gardaí while in custody.

“The allegations of unsolicited phone calls by Antoinette Bollard, (Mr Fagan’s girlfriend) when she claimed to have received phone calls from members of An Garda Síochána, are totally unfounded,” it stated.

The coroner said the allegations of harassment raised were outside the remit of the inquest. “There are issues in this file that go to criminal inquiries,” Dr Farrell said.

Mr Fagan said: “I have just been told in one fell swoop that gardaí did nothing wrong. Where do I go from here?”

The dead man’s sister said she had lost faith in the gardaí and had no belief in the garda investigation.

The coroner, who passed a verdict of death by suicide, said the garda report would be made available to the family and he would ask the Superintendent in Store Street Station to arrange a meeting between the family and senior gardaí to address their concerns.

David Fagan, his brother, said after Declan was released from prison in the Midlands in April he seemed to be feeling down and the family took him to see a doctor.

Mr Fagan said: “He hadn’t been well for a couple of weeks, whatever it was it had built up over the last few weeks. He was never really a drug taker.”

The inquest heard the family was worried as they could not locate him and he was found hanging in the attic of the family’s home on May 29, 2004. The post mortem found he died from hanging, and there were no drugs detected in his system.

Outside the inquest, his father said Declan had been fascinated with cars and had been put in prison from the time he was 11 or 13 years old over convictions in relation to stealing cars.

His family said he had a nine-year-old daughter and a lot to live for.

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