The Serious Crime Review Team (Cold Case Unit) headed by Detective Superintendent Christopher Mangan has said that they are going to undertake a preliminary review of the murder of Garda Richard Fallon in April 1970. In conjunction with their investigation the SCRT are going to request the original case file from the Garda Commissioner.
Garda Fallon’s son Finian Fallon has spoken of his relief that the unsolved murder may now have fresh light shed on it by the possible reopening of the investigation. Finian and his Brother Richard meet with Detective Superintendent Christopher Mangan and Detective Inspector Eamonn Henry in the SCRT headquarters on Harcourt Street in Dublin 2 this week. Finian Fallon said that the meeting resulted “in the most positive development in the case in years.”
Mr Fallon said that “he was delighted that the head of the SCRT had meet with him and discussed his fathers murder.” Mr Fallon said that “there is so much corroborating information that has come out over the years that it merits a proper investigating, as has been given to people in the North for cases that raise similar questions in relation to collusion and possible negligence on the part of the Government in terms of people being murdered in the service of the state.”
The SCRT have scheduled to meet again with the Fallon family in early November for an update on how the investigation is progressing. Finian said that he still believes in 2010 which marks the 40th anniversary of his fathers murder. That the full resources of the state should be put into finding those responsible as “the murder of a Garda was a capital offence so in our constitution there is an explicit recognition of protecting people who are servants of the state.” Mr Fallon said that it is his belief “that the Government are in breach of his family’s constitutional rights” in regards to this issue. He is also convinced that there has been a Government cover up in relation his fathers murder.
The recent enquiry into the murder of LVF leader Billy Wright in the Maze Prison which cost UK Taxpayers £36 million, has only increased the Fallon’s family call for a similar enquiry to be put in place to investigate the circumstances of Garda Fallon’s death. Speaking on this issue Finian said that “millions were spent on the enquiry of a convicted Loyalist killer, why could a similar investigation not be set up to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of a Garda who was murdered in the service of the State.”
There is a file on the Murder of Garda Fallon that was due to be released in 2001 but to this day remains suppressed. Fine Gael and Labour have both stated that they want to see this situation rectified. Mr Charles Flanagan TD the Fine Gail Justice spokesperson said, “even though many years have passed the Fallon family are still suffering and it is incumbent on the government to provide answers”. Commenting on the issue Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said that “on Labours return to Government I would be in favour of a review of whatever files remain either within the Gardai or in Government departments to determine whether there may be any effective way of pursuing the unanswered questions”.
The Minister for Justice Mr Dermot Ahern was unavailable for comment on the issue, however a press release from his office stated that his position on the matter remains unchanged to comments he made in 2007 in regards to the case. Mr Ahern said then that “The murder of the unarmed Garda in question was fully investigated by the Garda Siochana at the time, and I am unconvinced that there is any further practical step open to me which would likely alter outcomes in this case.”
Finian Fallon was only three years old when his farther Garda Richard Fallon was gunned down. Garda Fallon had attempted to intercept an armed gang who had just robbed the Royal Bank of Ireland on Arran Quay in Dublin on the 3rd of April 1970. Garda Fallon was shot twice once in the neck and once in the shoulder as he tried to prevent the robbery. Garda Fallon was the first Garda to be murdered in the line of duty in 28 years. And he was the first member of the Gardai to be posthumously awarded the Scott gold medal for bravery.
Commenting about his family’s reaction at the time of his Fathers murder Finian who now works as a bereavement councillor said that “a death in any family has a devastating impact but especially when it is a violent death”. Speaking about the effect his fathers murder had on him at the time Finian said that as a child he would “stand in his cot having imagined conversations with my father and waiting for him to come home from work.”
Finian now aged 43 is convinced that his fathers murder lead to the premature death’s of his two brothers Damien Fallon and Joseph Fallon who passed away aged 42 and 41 respectively. His mother Deirdre died in 1994 at the age of 56 and his sister Miriam now lives in South Africa. Finian and his brother Richard are all that is left of the immediate Fallon family in Ireland.
Three members of Saor Eire were charged with the murder of Garda Fallon but were cleared of all charges at the trial. Mr Fallon has since meet with members of Saor Eire who told him that they are convinced they were framed for his father’s murder. A former member of the organisation who did not wish to be identified that I spoke with told me that “all of those involved in the original trial have called for an enquiry based on the fact that the evidence presented against them was falsified”. To date nobody has ever been convicted of the murder of Garda Fallon a crime that at the time could have resulted in the Death Penalty.
In his office in Kildare Street in the centre of Dublin I asked Mr Fallon if he still feels any anger about that night in April 1970 when his family’s life was ripped apart for ever. He comes across now as a man who long ago dealt emotionally with his father’s death. As he says himself: “I have moved on from it a lot.” But he is determined to continue his search for the truth about those tragic events in April 1970. Commenting on his ongoing campaign Finian concluded by saying that “I see a lot of hope around here, people hope for change and justice all around us, and I see my struggle as part of that, it is not just a means of getting back at someone it is about uncovering things so we can use them for the future instead of using them for the past”.
Mr Fallon can only speculate about who was responsible for his Fathers murder and if elements within Government were involved in a cover up. However this does not change the fact that after all these years Finian Fallon, and the rest of the Fallon family deserve to have some answers so they can finally begin to put the ghost’s of the past to rest.by