The father of a Limerick teenager who was murdered sixteen years ago, today, has called for a “full public inquiry” into his son’s murder after a Garda allegedly did not officially record information they received about the killing.
Nineteen-year-old Jeffrey Hannan, Southill, was beaten to death with a hatchet on November 22, 2007, in what Gardai believe was an unprovoked attack.
The young father of two, who had no links to crime nor violence, was set upon by at least one male at a bonfire in the early hours near his home.
No one has been charged in connection with the murder and no weapon was ever recovered. The office of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) investigated a complaint it received from Alan Hannan, the victim’s father, that a garda had allegedly withheld information about his son’s murder from Gardai investigating the killing.
GSOC conducted a criminal investigation into the complaint, which unearthed confirmation that findings were made against a Garda following an internal Garda probe.
GSOC wrote to Mr Hannan in May last year, informing him that further enquiries on its part was “not necessary or reasonably practicable”. It stated that because certain parties “would not cooperate with the investigation”, or were “unknown”, that the allegation could not be proven nor disproven.
Speaking today, on the anniversary of his son’s murder, Alan Hannan described the GSOC letter as “extraordinary”. “I had to read the letter over and over and over and over again, I still can’t understand it, it’s devastating. I want a full public inquiry into all of this,” said Mr Hannan. “It’s so painful to read, it leaves me and my family with so many more unanswered questions,” he said.
“In my opinion, this letter is telling me I have no hope in finding justice for Jeffrey.” Mr Hannan has had several meetings with senior Gardai to discuss his concerns but the meetings have failed to bring the murder investigation forward.
Mr Hannan said: “Jeffrey was an innocent person, just like other innocent murder victims whose killers are in jail, and the families have got justice. Maybe the Gardai put more resources into gangland crime than they did into my son’s murder, but my family has no justice.”
“The Gardai know I know who killed my son, everybody on the street knows who killed my son, this person is walking around free, but me and my family have to endure this nightmare everyday of our lives - how are we supposed to live with that?,” asked Mr Hannan.
“The Gardai just shrug their shoulders when I mention the garda disciplinary probe, they tell me that they cannot talk about internal disciplinary matters. So what happens now? I cannot understand any of this.”
The GSOC letter, seen by this reporter, reads: “The fact the information in relation to Jeffrey Hannan was not recorded came to light during a review of the file prior to onward transmission to the DPP.”
Despite the information being included in a Garda file that was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) “some months later”, the DPP decided there was still not enough evidence to bring charges in the case.
“As a result of failing to record the information a disciplinary investigation was instigated against (named garda),” the GSOC letter states.
“The result of the investigation led to a discipline board being convened and a finding made against (the Garda). The finding was appealed by (the Garda), the appeal board adjourned, and (the Garda) retired from An Garda Siochana”, the letter continues.
“Accordingly, the appeal board never sat and the matter was finalised as (the Garda) was no longer subject of the Garda Siochana Discipline Regulations 2007 as amended.”
The letter concludes that the retired officer continues to deny the allegation. Alan Hannan has requested meetings with the Minister for Justice but these were turned down.
Minister Helen McEntee’s Private secretary informed Mr Hannan by email that Garda disciplinary matters were “a matter for the Garda Commissioner and not for the Minister”.
Mr Hannan has repeatedly asked the Garda Commissioner to meet him, and while an Assistant Commissioner did meet with Mr Hannan to discuss his concerns, the Commissioner has not.
Mr Hannan said he wrote to GSOC last year seeing further clarity about the letter it sent to him last year but he has not heard anything from the Garda ombudsman. Gardai said they do not comment on Garda investigations, GSOC investigations, nor internal Garda disciplinary matters.
They said the investigation into Jeffrey Hannan’s murder remains open and appealed for anyone with information to make it available to them. GSOC have been contacted for comment.
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