Limerick father calls for public inquiry following claims Garda withheld information about his son’s historic killing

Alan Hannan at his son' Jeffrey's grave.

THE father of a Limerick teenager who was murdered 16 years ago today has called for a “full public inquiry” into his son’s murder after a Garda allegedly failed to officially record information they received about the historic killing.

19-year-old Jeffrey Hannan, of Southill, was beaten to death with a hatchet on November 22, 2007, in what Gardaí believe was an unprovoked attack.

The young father of two, who had no links to crime or violence, was set upon by at least one male at a bonfire in the early hours near his Southill home.

No one has been charged in connection with the murder and no weapon was ever recovered.

The office of the Garda Síochána 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 Gardaí investigating the killing.

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GSOC conducted a criminal investigation into the complaint, which unearthed confirmation that findings were made against a Garda following an internal Garda probe.

The Commission 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 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. 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 Gardaí to discuss his concerns but the meetings have failed to bring the murder investigation forward.

Alan Hannan maintains that “Jeffrey was an innocent person, just like other innocent murder victims whose killers are in jail and the families have got justice”.

“Maybe the Gardaí put more resources into gangland crime than they did into my son’s murder, but my family has no justice.”

“The Gardaí 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?” the devastated father asked.

“The Gardaí 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 the Limerick Post, 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 Síochána”, the letter continues.

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

The letter concludes that the retired officer continues to deny the allegation.

Alan Hannan’s requests to meet with the Minister for Justice have been 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 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.

Gardaí said they do not comment on Garda investigations, GSOC investigations, or 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.

A GSOC spokesman said the Commission does not comment on its investigations.