Retired detective may hold key to solving Limerick teenager’s murder

The late Jeffrey Hannan

THE father of a Limerick City teenager, who was was beaten to death with an axe 15 years ago today, said he believes a retired detective Garda may have vital information about who killed his son.

Calling on the former detective to help bring his son’s killer to justice, Alan Hannan said that Gardaí had utterly failed him and his family.

19-year-old Jeffrey Hannan, who had no links to crime, was beaten to death with an axe at a bonfire gathering near his home in Southill in the early hours of November 22, 2007, in what Gardaí believe was an unprovoked killing.

The Garda investigation into the murder has been mired in controversy after it emerged that a Detective Garda was the subject of an internal Garda hearing into claims that they withheld information about the murder.

The detective was not part of the Garda team that investigated the murder.

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Alan Hannan said he has “completely lost confidence in the Garda investigation”, and criticised the office of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), which was carrying out an investigation into the allegations against the Detective Garda.

Separate enquiries by an Assistant Garda Commissioner as well as a lengthy review of the murder investigation, carried out by Limerick Gardaí, have also failed to bring the case forward.

A letter sent by the GSOC to Mr Hannan last May informed him that a Garda disciplinary board made a finding against the detective, but that they were no longer subject to the Garda disciplinary process because they retired from the force while appealing the board’s finding.

It added that GSOC felt that “further investigation is not necessary or reasonably practicable”.

The letter stated that on an identified date several years after his son’s murder, the detective Garda and a colleague became aware of potentially vital information about Jeffrey Hannan’s murder.

“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. It is noted the information formed part of the file as it was recorded some months later,” the letter added.

“As a result of failing to record the information, a disciplinary investigation was instigated against (named detective).

“The result of the investigation led to a discipline board being convened and a finding made against (named detective). The finding was appealed by (named detective). The appeal board adjourned, and (named detective) retired from An Garda Siochána,” the letter continued.

“Accordingly, the appeal board never sat and the matter was finalised as (named detective) was no longer subject of the Garda Siochána Regulations 2007.”

The letter concluded by stating that the former detective denied the allegation.

Alan and Geraldine Hannan with photographs of their son Jeffrey

Describing it as “the most bizarre letter I have ever read”, Mr Hannan said: “It tells me that, on a specific date, a detective and a colleague became aware of information about my son’s murder, and that this was not recorded. A disciplinary board made a finding against a detective, but that they were no longer subject to this process because they retired from the Gardaí while they were appealing the finding.”

“What am I supposed to think? What is going on?” he asked.

Mr Hannan said he sent GSOC a list of questions seeking more information but that he has not received an adequate response

“Everyone has left our family high and dry, the Gardaí, GSOC, the people who know what happened to my son,” said Mr Hannan.

“The Gardaí have told me nothing of any substance in 15 years. All they say is they have no leads, even though they know who murdered my son.

“The dogs on the street know who did it, and my family has to go through the added hurt of seeing this man walking around the city without a care in the world.

“The Gardaí have had 15 years to bring our son’s killer before a court, and they have utterly failed me and my family,” he added.

Mr Hannan is still awaiting a response from Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to a request he made in 2019 to meet him to discuss his concerns about the case.

A Garda spokesman said Gardaí “do not generally provide specific details of the conduct of any particular criminal investigation and does not comment on investigations carried out by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission or internal disciplinary matters.

“An internal review into this matter has been completed and the investigation into the murder of Mr Jeffrey Hannan remains an active investigation.

“Over the years, a number of arrests have been made as part of the investigation. An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to any members of the public with any information relating to this murder to please come forward,” the spokesman added.

Alan Hannan has also asked Justice Minister Helen McEntee to help him find justice for his son.

A spokesman for the Minister said “it would be inappropriate for her to comment as “disciplinary matters within An Garda Siochána are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and not for the Minister”.

Alan Hannan at his son’s grave.