Family want public enquiry into folk park death 

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The late Patrick Nugent.

THE family of a man found dead in Bunratty Folk Park 38 years ago are calling for an independent investigation into his death.

Patrick Nugent was the banqueting manager at the Mid West tourist attraction at the time of his death on February 11, 1984.

No-one has ever been convicted of a crime on the fatal night.

Last month Justice Minister Helen McEntee told the Nugent family from Sixmilebridge that Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has sought a fresh investigation on foot of a report by a District Court judge.

On the night of the death, the late William Ryan, a chef at Shannon Airport, was celebrating his wedding anniversary at Bunratty.

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He was later charged with the manslaughter of Mr Nugent, but was acquitted in 1985.

A report into the initial Garda investigation, compiled by Judge Patrick Clyne, raised a number of matters.

The Nugent family had sight of the report in 2021, a year after it was written, and in that report the now retired judge outlined what steps could then be taken.

In a letter to the Nugent family on February 10, Minister McEntee said the fresh investigation would see the death treated as a ‘cold case’ and a new team would be appointed to investigate what happened.

But last week, the family said through their legal representative, that they believe any new Garda investigation to be “hopelessly compromised” at this point.

In doing so, the family cited the judge’s report which criticised the original Garda investigation.

The Nugents are now seeking a full and independent public inquiry into the events of that night and the circumstances which led to Patrick Nugent’s death.