Coroner urged to withdraw ‘perverse’ inquest verdict

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The son of former Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) leader Dominic McGlinchey is seeking to have an inquest into his mother’s murder reopened.

Mary McGlinchey was shot nine times in the bathroom of her Dundalk home on January 31, 1987, as she bathed her two sons, Dominic Óg, aged nine, and Declan, aged ten.

The 26 County Department of Justice infamously refused Dominic McGlinchey permission to attend his wife’s funeral.

A 1988 inquest into her killing then gave only a simplistic finding in line with the medical evidence that she died from a laceration to the brain and bullet wounds to the head, neck and chest. No one has ever been charged in connection with the attack.

Dominic was himself killed in a shooting in Drogheda seven years later. Now Dominic Óg has argued that the original verdict into his mother’s death was “perverse” as it left open the suggestion that Mary McGlinchey was lawfully killed or that her wounds were self-inflicted. He wants a new inquest to find that his mother was unlawfully killed by persons unknown.

His lawyer, Ciarán Mulholland, has written to the gardaí seeking an update on its investigation into the murder, which was reviewed by a cold case team in 2012.

In his letter to the Attorney General last month, Ciarán Mulholland said the murder of Mary McGlinchey was believed to have sectarian motives.

He said his client had received the inquest file on his mother’s case from the coroner for County Louth, in July. This had caused him grave concerns due to its “paucity, perverse verdict reached by the jury and lack of any meaningful participation by the family”.

Although Mr McGlinchey Jr and his brother, who has since died, were the only eyewitnesses to the killing, they were not called to give evidence to the inquest in July 1988. A verdict of unlawful killing by persons unknown was not even considered by the jury.

The five witnesses called included two civilians, two gardaí and the State pathologist, none of whom had seen what happened when Mary McGlinchey was killed.

Mr Mulholland called on Paul Gallagher, the Attorney General, to use his powers under the 1961 Coroner’s Act to order a new inquest in light of the flaws in the original.

In a statement, Mr Mulholland said: “Given the scant documentation received from the Coroner for Co Louth and the extraordinary apathetic attitude of gardaí to our enquiries, we have made representations to the Attorney General seeking that they exercise their statutory discretion and order a fresh inquest.

“It is absurd to think that one of the most horrific murders during the recent Troubles is officially recorded by the State as ‘cause of death — laceration of brain’. There is no doubt there was an insufficiency of inquiry as to how death occurred. Mary McGlinchey was murdered having been assaulted and shot several times at close quarters in the presence of her children.”

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