The only surviving son of INLA figures Dominic and Mary McGlinchey has launched a court bid in an attempt to compel Gardaí police to reopen the investigations into their murders six years apart.
Dominic Óg McGlinchey lodged two separate proceedings at the High Court in Dublin on Friday, pointing out the original investigations into his parents’ deaths were “completely ineffective”.
In court papers he recounts witnessing as a nine-year-old boy in 1987 the assassination of his mother as she bathed her sons, and of his father outside a phone box seven years later. Both of the conflict-related killings took place in the 26 Counties.
Mr McGlinchey acknowledged his parents’ own involvement in the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army), but said he is taking the action in pursuit of the truth and to seek closure.
McGlinchey hopes to compel the Gardaí to conduct a thorough, transparent and effective investigation with cross-border co-operation into the murder of his mother. In separate proceedings, he says the investigation into his father’s murder lacked “diligence, thoroughness and effectiveness”.
In court papers, Dominic Óg recalled how on the Saturday night of January 31, 1987, he and his brother Declan (10) had been looking forward to videos and popcorn at home, in a Dundalk housing estate where they had moved the previous year. His father was in prison. His mother was preparing the house for the evening.
“It was our tradition to hire a video from a van that visited our neighbourhood on Saturday nights. We would enjoy the warmth of the house and the scent of popcorn while watching movies. My mother used to tell us that we could have popcorn after taking our bath,” he said.
“While I was in my mother’s bedroom, getting dressed after taking a bath, we heard a loud bang at the back door.”
Dominic Óg assumed his brother had fallen in the bath. “My mother went to check and it was then she encountered the two men running up the stairs. My mother bravely confronted the gunmen, pleading with them not to harm her in front of her children.
“A struggle ensued, during which my mother consistently urged them to take her away without subjecting us to the violence. At no point did she beg for her life or express fear for herself.”
He ran downstairs to the sound of gunfire coming from the bathroom, and “in a panic”, rushed outside and hid, “filled with terror and uncertainty”.
“Unbeknownst to me, my neighbour discovered my brother wandering on the landing, naked. He had witnessed the horrific injuries inflicted on our mother and desperately tried to comfort her.”
Court filings include a statement from a garda who attended the scene and saw “two young boys” running around the green area in front of the house.
“Dominic Óg McGlinchey was screaming: ‘They shot my mammy, they shot my mammy.’ This young boy was hysterical,” read the statement.
The gunmen shot Mary nine times with automatic weapons, including twice in the face. Her body was recovered in the bath in which she had just bathed her sons.
After the shooting, McGlinchey said a garda insisted he and his brothers be taken to ‘borstal’ — a youth detention centre - but their grandfather took them to their mother’s homeplace. He described how, for safety concerns, the boys were relocated to a boarding school in Westport.
Mr McGlinchey also outlines in court documents how the family reunited when their father was released from prison in 1993. They settled in Drogheda, County Louth, where Dominic Óg attended school.
Later that year, at his brother Declan’s 16th birthday party, gunmen opened fire on his father — but he survived. A year later, in February 1994, after bringing his son for chips and returning a rental video, his father stopped to make a call from a phone box. Gunmen appeared, and Dominic Óg witnessed his father being shot dead.
“The aftermath of my father’s death left me overwhelmed with emotions. It was the first time I allowed myself to cry, realising the weight of my loss and the limited support network available to me,” he said in an affidavit.
McGlinchey is seeking a declaration by way of judicial review that gardaí failed to ensure an “effective investigation” into the murders of his parents. He is taking the case against An Garda Síochána, the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General.
An affidavit from Ciaran Mulholland, his lawyer, indicated his client took the proceedings because repeated requests to gardaí for an update on the investigations received “no meaningful reply”.
In both sets of proceedings, McGlinchey said inquests described the medical evidence that caused the deaths of Dominic and Mary as a result of bullet wounds.
Neither inquest returned verdicts that their deaths were unlawful killing. McGlinchey says it is “wrong” that “no public record exists” to indicate the deaths of his parents were “unlawful killing by persons unknown”.
In his mother’s case he said there were no charges, searches, extraditions and “limited formal arrests” in the garda investigation into her murder.
Gardaí recovered bullet casings at the scene of her murder, but he said there had been no cross-border forensic analysis to compare them with casings recovered in the North. Scrapings taken from her fingernails at the autopsy were never examined.
He says the bath in which his mother’s body was found was kept as an exhibit in Dundalk garda station for years.
His affidavit also recounts how he learned from the Belfast Telegraph that the file was “missing” when a detective was tasked with reviewing Mary’s murder in 2015. He was unable to locate the garda file on the case.
In his father’s case, McGlinchey said possible lines of inquiry were not pursued, for both his attempted murder and his murder.
Dominic Óg and his brother Declan, who died suddenly in 2015, met with the Serious Crime Review Team in 2012, hoping the investigations into his parents’ murders would be reopened.
He met with gardaí again in 2017, when he learned that, in the absence of any new evidence, gardaí would not reopen either of the cases.
McGlinchey, who lives in Galway with his wife and four sons and runs a health business, is pushing for fresh investigations in “pursuit of truth” and “with a view to bringing this chapter of my life to a close and receiving some form of closure”.
While acknowledging his parents’ involvement in the conflict, he says: “They were driven by their beliefs and the struggle for the reunification of the country and the establishment of the socialist republic.
“I believe every person has the right to seek justice, regardless of the circumstances of their life or the lives of their loved ones. The justice system exists to uphold this right, and I trust it to deliver justice to my family and me.”