A Wicklow Councillor received a hand-delivered notice from Bray Town Council that they were beginning eviction proceedings against him and his family just days after he called for a Garda investigation into alleged evidence-tampering in the case of the deaths of two firefighters.
On March 6th Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady posted a blog saying ‘there needs to be a full Garda investigation to establish the facts of how a five litre tin that may have contained a flammable liquid was mysteriously found at the scene of the fire at Adelaide Villas in Bray that Killed firefighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy’.
The Wicklow News reported from the dramatic turn of events at the inquest of March 6th:
Once the fire was extinguished on the 26th September at about 3pm the Crime Scene Investigation Unit from the gardaí entered the burnt out premises at Adelaide Villas, Bray and photographed the entire area. The scene was then secured and released at about 6.30pm.
The following day Michael Slattery, an expert who was engaged by Wicklow County Council to investigate the fire, entered the sealed building with Wicklow fire officials, then Chief Fire Officer, Jim Dunphy, and two senior assistant chief fire officers, Joanne O’Connor and Tadhg O’Shea.
They photographed the interior of the building and the charred can was discovered on a pile of burnt debris, its lid lying beside it and contents label still legible.
At the inquest, photos taken on September 26th by gardai clearly show that there was no such can where the Council and Michael Slattery claim to have found it the following day.
The last occupant of the disused factory before the fire broke out, a joiner named Alan Ryan, also told the inquest that the can was not there when he vacated the premises in 2006.
During the inquest it was suggested by the barrister for Wicklow County Council that the liquid inside the can may have expanded during the blaze and exploded, causing a fireball which incapacitated the men and led to their deaths.
It had also been suggested that one of the firefighters may have triggered the event by stepping on the can.
Yesterday’s dramatic turn of events occurred when Michael Slattery was giving evidence to the court.
Mr Slattery was using photographic projections during his testimony. As he did so, Det Garda Maurice Hickey, the lead garda in the criminal investigation into the men’s deaths, interjected from his seat in the court.
“Can I clarify?” he asked as Mr Slattery was giving evidence. “That photograph you took on the 27th that we’re seeing there; that’s in situ, not moved, that can?”
Mr Slattery indicated yes.
“I’ll show a photograph of the 26th then,” said Det Garda Hickey, before connecting his iPad to the projector and displaying an image on screen.
“What are we seeing there?” asked the coroner, Dr Brian Farrell.
“The point I’m making, is that the can is not there on the 26th but it is there on the 27th,” said Det Garda Hickey.
Dr Farrell then adjourned the inquest saying: ”I need to clarify this matter before we go any further.”
Cllr Brady posted two blogs calling for a Garda investigation. He also called a special meeting of the Town Council for the 14th of March which he reported on as follows:
The special meeting of Wicklow County Council which was called today to discuss evidence which has been heard at the inquest into the deaths of Bray Firemen Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy was a circus and the chairman was the clown. Censoring discussion and ignoring motions is undemocratic and is designed to protect the disgraced Wicklow County Manager. Thanks to the Chairperson, FF, FG and labour who didn’t bother even showing up.
Following his calls for investigation he claims he was hand-delivered a notice by the Town Council that he, his wife and their 5 children were to be evicted from their council home for carrying out work on the house TEN YEARS AGO that the council at the time said they hadn’t funds to cover.
We will be following this case with interest.