State Papers 1985: FitzGerald told Thatcher: Give us joint courts or Agreement off

GARRET FITZGERALD warned he would not sign the Anglo Irish Agreement if Margaret Thatcher didn’t agree to a joint courts system.
And he said that if she didn’t agree to judges from both sides of the border officiating in terrorism trials, he’d look like a ‘fool’ who had been ‘led up the garden path’.
After the British Prime Minister refused to agree to the joint courts system, Dr FitzGerald warned her: ‘There could be no agreement’.
The issue of joint courts was one of a number of ‘confidence-building measures’ Dr FitzGerald had in May 1985 wanted tacked onto agreement between the two sides.
These measures, which also included reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, were designed to reassure the minority Nationalist community in the North.
But at their meeting on June 29, just months away from the signing of the 1985 Agreement, Mrs Thatcher – according to secret Department of the Taoiseach documents to be released on January 4 by the National Archives – observed: ‘There is no possibility of agreeing in advance to joint courts.’
In reply, Dr Fitzgerald said: ‘If I didn’t know that a system of this sort would come into existence under the agreement, (then) I could not go ahead with the agreement.
Again, the Prime Minister insisted that the British ‘just cannot undertake to institute a system of joint courts’.
Dr Fitzgerald persisted, telling her: ‘This question has to be considered now. People have been saying that I have been led up the garden path.
“They would say this even more strongly.
‘They would say that we have been fooled by the British again.’
But Mrs Thatcher told him that for their part, she believed Unionists will say a joint courts system ‘is a foot in the door’.
Dr Fitzgerald said: ‘This is a very real problem.
‘I have to be able to say, if this whole thing is to be considered, that it can happen.’
And later, he said that unless measures such as a joint court system were to be agreed to, he felt ‘we have been wasting our time’.
And he warned: ‘There just could be no agreement in those circumstances.’
The Prime Minister conceded that the British could introduce a code of conduct for the RUC and other things ‘but they must have a low profile: that is the best line’.
Dr Fitzgerald was insistent that more needed to be done by the British to reassure the minority Nationalist population.
He told her: ‘We have been saying for six months we can’t get the minority to back this agreement unless there are changes in the UDR and the RUC.
‘We can’t get the minority support without these.
‘They just cannot sell an agreement, without these changes, to their own people.’
And, again he warned her: ‘By the time the measures you mention are put in force in the way you were speaking the whole effect of the agreement will have evaporated.
‘I have put my personal authority on the line here.
‘This whole negotiation has been viewed by very many people in the south with the deepest scepticism.’
He also told her: ‘For the last Six months, the government has been increasingly sceptical about these negotiations.
‘They have been saying that unless these associated measures take place simultaneously, then they just cannot back the agreement.
‘I have persuaded them to go along with what is happening but with difficulty.
‘If things break down now it will be very damaging.’

State Papers 1985: Kerry Babies detectives slammed by their own Commissioner

GARDA BOSSES are claimed to have criticised detectives weeks before a tribunal investigated their handling of the infamous Kerry Babies case investigation.
In cabinet briefing notes from November 1984 and to be released by the National Archives on January 4 for the first time, the then Garda Commissioner is said to have described the actions of his detectives as ‘grossly negligent’.
At the time, gardai were criticised over allegations they either assaulted or physically coerced members of a Kerry family to admit to their respective roles in murdering and disposing of one of two new-born babies found in Co Kerry in April 1984.
Kerry Babies Tribunal Judge Kevin Lynch would later find these allegations to be untrue.
Joanne Hayes was charged over the death of one of the babies, who had been stabbed in the heart and found wedged between rocks on a beach in Cahirciveen and later named Baby John before being buried.
The 25-year-old receptionist’s initial statement that she gave birth to an illegitimate baby boy in a field on her parents’ farm 70km away in Abbeydorney and could show gardai his body was not initially believed.
Detectives instead believed she gave birth to her baby in her bed and stabbed him to death before members of her family disposed of his body.
But the day after she was charged with the Cahirciveen baby’s murder, her own baby was found on her parents’ farm.
Subsequent tests on a section of lung taken from the Cahirciveen Baby showed he had a different blood group to Ms Hayes, the man she had been having an affair with and the baby she gave birth to.
The charges against her and her family were withdrawn a few months later. A few weeks ago, an appeal was launched to encourage someone to come forward with information about the death of Baby John.
The infamous case led to a controversial 82-day tribunal set up to look into the events leading up to charges being made against and then later withdrawn against Ms Hayes and members of her family.
It was also established to look into allegations the Hayes family made about them being allegedly coerced into making incriminating statements.
However, the tribunal focused in detail on the morality of Ms Hayes having a relationship with a married man and on inconsistencies in statements and claims made by members of the Hayes family about the way they were say treated by gardai.
By the end of it, gardai were exonerated of the allegations that they assaulted or physically abused members of the Hayes family.
However, some gardai would later be transferred out of the Investigation Section of the Garda Technical Bureau.
A lawyer involved in the original case said last night that had the results of the internal garda enquiry been known, there might not have been any need for the IR£1.6 million tribunal that followed.
The tribunal report would find in October 1985 that Ms Hayes’ baby was born in the family home, not in a field – although this was strongly refuted by her defence team.
The tribunal heard evidence, which was also strongly disputed by Ms Hayes’ defence, from a family member claimed to have been at the birth.
Her lawyer Patrick Mann said last night: ‘I do not recall ever being sent or seeing
the results of that internal garda enquiry.
‘It puts a whole new light on things and shows that garda management were already
unhappy and concerned about the conduct of their own detectives.
‘To have described them as “grossly negligent” is very strong stuff.
‘It does now beg the question: why on earth did we then need to have a big tribunal
to look into garda conduct when in fact the garda and the government already knew what they were dealing with.’
The Kerry Babies Tribunal was established in December 13, 1984.
In a memorandum for the government eight days previously, on December 6, Michael Noonan – the then Minister for Justice – laid out his proposal for a judicial enquiry into the case.
He referred to the fact that the then Garda Commissioner Larry Wren had forwarded to him on November 26, 1984, a report on the internal Garda investigation into the allegations by members of the Hayes family of misconduct by detectives in the Kerry babies case.
At the time, that it had been completed had not been made public.
On December 6 – just before the setting up of the Kerry Babies Tribunal – a memo from the Office of the Ministry for Justice and Equality to government was written up on the ‘Proposed judicial inquiry into the “Kerry Babies” case.
It set out the Minister for Justice Michael Noonan’s case for a tribunal.
He is at all times referred to in the third person in the memo.
And in addition, the briefing note to his government colleagues on what the Commissioner concluded is all in note form.
There are no direct quotes from the Commissioner.
The memo says that Commissioner Wren said the investigation had not been able to arrive at any conclusion in relation to allegations of garda misconduct made by the Hayes family.
He is also reported to have said all the gardai involved denied the allegations and that there was no independent corroborating evidence.
The fact that the Hayes family had refused to be interviewed by the internal Garda investigation investigators was highlighted, as was the refusal by a small number of gardai involved in the case to make full statements or answer specific questions.
The Commissioner concluded, according to Minister Noonan, that ‘some aspects of the original criminal investigation were being concealed’.
Mr Noonan’s outline of some of the main conclusions of the internal garda enquiry are then detailed in the memo.
‘Although tests on the blood grouping of Ms Hayes, the man she was associating with and both babies showed (she) and the man could not be parents of the Cahirciveen Baby, gardai (did not explain) why they persevered with the murder (charge) against Miss Hayes,’ it states.
‘In the opinion of the state pathologist, the knife produced to him was unlikely to have caused most of the wounds on the baby’s body.
‘Notwithstanding that there was some evidence to support the statement of Ms Hayes
that she had given birth in a field and disposed of the baby on the farm . . . Ms Hayes was not invited to point out to gardai the spot where she had disposed of the body.
‘To all intents and purposes, active investigation of the case ceased once the charges
had been preferred against of the Hayes family, notwithstanding the finding of the second baby.
‘The conclusion of the investigating gardai from the finding of the second baby seemed
to be that Ms Hayes must have had twins, although the results of the forensic tests on the blood groups threw serious doubt on this.
‘The Commissioner has concluded that, whatever about the truth of the allegations of the Hayes family, the report clearly indicates that the officers conducting the criminal investigation into the death of the Cahirciveen baby were grossly negligent in their handling of the case.
‘And he considers that some form of sworn enquiry is required to establish what really
happened.’
Minister Noonan then told Cabinet that he considered that ‘in all the circumstances he has no option but to proceed with the holding of a sworn enquiry into the case’.
And he added: ‘The issues involved are clearly of major public importance and warrant the most searching investigation
‘Moreover, as a result of all the publicity the case has received, there is a very large public interest dimension to the case
‘In addition the Minister has already indicated in statements made in the Dail in relation to the case that, if the Garda investigation failed to clear the matter up he would think it probable that a sworn enquiry would be justified.’
However, in a very prescient observation, given that the identity of either Baby John or his killer remains unknown more than 30 years on, he also had his own reservations about the efficacy of a tribunal.
He said: ‘It must be borne in mind, however, that there can be no guarantee that the sworn enquiry will succeed in satisfactorily resolving the conflicting versions of the events that have already been given.
‘But, at the very least, it will bring the facts of what happened out into the open so that people can make up their own minds about them.
‘There is also the possibility that the examination and cross-examination of witnesses on both may make a difference.’

State Papers 1985: Singapore (but not Israel) could fly missiles over Irish airspace

THE STATE supported the transfer of military cargo by both Singapore and the UAE over Irish airspace but stopped the Israelis doing the same.
National Archive documents due to be released on January 4, 2016, detail the hoops the Israelis had to go through to get permission to fly military transporter planes over Ireland on their way to America to load up with armaments.
Israeli Air Force planes were permitted fly empty transporter aircraft over Ireland to the US, where they loaded up with arms and ammunition.
But they were banned from flying back over Irish airspace laden with their deadly cargoes.
For example, in March 1984, the Israeli Embassy in London was informed that because a flight planned for March 28 would be carrying ‘material de guerre’, it would not be allowed.
‘However, permission is granted for the overflight on March 26, 1984.’
A request for another overflight on June 28 was also rejected.
‘This request was refused on grounds of the cargo being spare parts for tanks and Israel’s position in an area of tension’, noted an official in the Department of Foreign Affairs.
A flight from the US to Israel over Irish air space planned for August 22, 1984 was also refused permission because it was to carry ‘explosives’, while the earlier August 20 flight to the US to collect that same material was permitted.
In contrast, civil servants tasked with granting permission for overflights supported an application by Singapore to fly over Ireland an aircraft laden with military hardware.
On board were ‘two missiles and warheads’.
All officials seemed interested in was that the plane being flown met all the necessary safety standards.
One wrote in the side of confidential documents about the planned flight: ‘We are not, in principle, opposed to granting this Singaporean request.’
Another said: ‘Our relations with Singapore are good.
‘I feel we ought to not refuse this request but we might want to make sure that proper safety measures will be taken.’
A request by the United Arab Emirates Air Force to fly a plane over Irish airspace from the US that contained ‘military stores’ was also considered favourably.
An official said in memo marked ‘Urgent’: ‘All other things equal, we would not in principle be opposed to the overflight by UAE, given the military stores in question are not in themselves dangerous or unstable (unlike warheads etc).’
But they added: ‘We are reserved about granting the overflight given that the Gulf is clearly an area of tension and that, as a general rule, we are cautious about granting overflights to areas of tension.’
However, permission for the November 1984 fly-over was eventually granted.

Investigation launched after female fire fighter nearly choked to death.

A FEMALE fire fighter nearly died in a house fire after the air pipe on her breathing apparatus disconnected.
Instead of breathing in oxygen, she ended up taking in toxic black smoke and nearly choked to death.
Quick-thinking colleagues spotted her in distress and pulled her out of the building on Richmond Road, Dublin.
She was then rushed by ambulance to the nearby Mater Hospital for treatment.
The incident, which happened about five minutes after the fire fighter entered the building after the force received a 999 call to the premises around 4am last Thursday week, July 2, is now being investigated by Dublin Fire Brigade.
It is the second such investigation in almost as many weeks by the force into injuries sustained by its fire-crew during call-outs.
One is under way into the force’s handling of the June 10 Portmarnock sewerage tragedy in which two men died.
While attempting to rescue Alan and Stephen Harris, who had been trying to clear a blockade in the sewerage system on the exclusive Drumnigh Wood Estate in north Co Dublin, three fire crew were injured.
A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said last night: ‘As part of standard operational procedures, Dublin Fire Brigade is conducting an investigation into this incident.
‘All matters relating to the incident will be duly dealt with within this framework.
‘We have nothing further to add on this incident.’
A spokesperson for Scott Safety – which makes the breathing apparatus Dublin Fire Brigade uses – said last night: ‘Scott Safety confirms that they are aware of the alleged incidents at Dublin Fire Brigade and will fully cooperate with the investigation team.
‘Our number one priority is and has always been the safety of the firefighters and all users of our equipment.
‘We are continuing to closely monitor this situation and will provide additional information as it becomes available.’
Thursday’s incident is the latest of a string of mishaps involving the force’s controversial breathing apparatus.
Last month, on June 16, there was another incident involving one of the force’s breathing apparatus (BA) system.
A fire fighter attending a 2am house fire in the Kilbarrack area of Dublin had to discard his BA after the air cylinder on his back dropped out of the back plate holding it in place.
Although user error was suspected, it dropped out because of a faulty couplet holding it in place.
The faulty BA set has now been sent away for repair.
Last September, a fireman was left gasping for air while fighting a blaze in a burning building when his breathing apparatus malfunctioned.
As the time, it was second incident in eight weeks this had happened.
And it followed on from an incident in January when the breathing apparatus of two other firemen stopped working during an operation to rescue eight people from a blazing building.
As at the time, at least another eight ‘catastrophic episodes of equipment failures’ had been reported to Dublin City Council chiefs in less than two years.
In September’s case, a fireman had reached the first landing in a derelict building opposite Coombe Hospital on Cork Street, in Dublin’s south inner city.
His crew, from Dolphins Barn station, had rushed to the 7.30pm fire fearing there might have been someone inside.
But as they began fighting the blaze inside, the breathing apparatus of one firefighter suddenly stopped working.
That and an earlier malfunction during a training exercise in Blanchardstown, were also investigated.
Since last September, DFB has made a number of improvements and taken on board a number of safety concerns raised by the Irish Fire and Emergency Service Association (IFESA)
The association launched a High Court action against Dublin City Council over the ‘regular failures’ of the Scott ACSFX BA apparatus and the case is ongoing.
The union has claimed not enough was being done to address their concerns about this equipment, which was introduced into the brigade in late 2011.
Shortly after the equipment was introduced, however, issues started to emerge.

Ireland’s ‘arrogant’ charity sector

IRELAND’S charities have been accused of arrogance by a leading charity boss.

Jack & Jill founder Jonathan Irwin attacked the sector – which receives billions of euro of taxpayers’ cash each year – because so many charities have so far failed to either register or engage with the new regulator.

Just 65 of the estimated 4,000 charities that must register with the Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA) by next April had completed their registration up to about two weeks ago.

The regulator was created after controversy over directors’ huge remuneration packages in charities such as Rehab and the CRC.

While 650 of the charities have started the registration process, the regulator said only a small fraction had actually completed the process.

At the current rate of registration completions – about 130 a year – it would take more than 30 years for all the charities to sign up.

Charities Regulatory Authority
Jonathan Irwin: ‘It is quite wrong that the CRA is not firing on all cylinders given the crisis in the sector last year.’

Mr Irwin has condemned the low rate of registration as ‘appalling’.

He said: ‘It is a real indictment of the charity sector and, perhaps, its arrogance. It is quite wrong that the CRA is not firing on all cylinders given the crisis in the sector last year.

‘Too many charities have been too comfortable for too long.’

Apart from the estimated 4,000 charities that must register with the CRA by next April, another 8,500 charities with ‘CHY’ numbers from the Revenue were registered automatically when the CRA was established.

However, it has also emerged that of these charities, more than half have yet to engage with CRA staff.

Despite the thousands of letters sent out to these charities requiring key information from them, just 3,600 had responded by about two weeks ago.

The CRA said: ‘Approximately 3,600 charities have provided additional information to date in response to the CRA’s request by letter to all charities deemed registered under section 40 of the 2009 Charities Act.

‘The CRA has requested information from all registered charities to supplement the information received by the CRA directly from Revenue in respect of charities deemed registered under section 40.

‘The CRA has not yet set a deadline for the completion of this information provision. We encourage all registered charities that have not yet completed the process to do so as soon as they can.’

Asked how many of the estimated 4,000 charities that do not have a CHY tax exemption number from Revenue had fully registered with the regulator, she replied: ‘Approximately 650 organisations have commenced the process of applying for registration.’

Of these, she said: ‘Approximately 10% have completed all aspects of application.’

Carbon monoxide poisoning threat from illegally-installed appliances in up to 8,000 public premises

Miriam Reidy Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Gas Networks Ireland CO awareness ‘Tommy’ campaign.

THERE ARE an estimated 8,000 public premises in Ireland that have illegally-installed boiler and heating appliances.
The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors Ireland say premises include small hotels, bed and breakfasts, youth clubs and hairdressers.
Earlier this year, the APHCI told an Oireachtas committee that an estimated 18,000 illegal boilers have been fitted every year since 2009.
As it has always been reported that these are domestic fuel burning appliances have been installed for domestic purposes, it has always been assumed they have been installed in homes.
And as a result of concern about domestic installations – largely raised by APHCI – the registration and control of installers has been greatly tightened up.
But it has now emerged that thousands of these domestic appliances have also been installed in public premises.
Under the Commission for Energy Regulation’s RGii registration and regulatory scheme, anybody installing a domestic appliance has to be properly certified.
The revelation that dodgy domestic appliances have been installed in public premises comes as the sister of a woman who died of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in a Cork hotel has launched a campaign to legislate for CO gas alarms to be fitted in public premises.

Miriam Reidy carbon monoxide poisoning
‘It is heart-breaking to think a young woman, our sister, died and there was no accountability on any level for her death.’

Siobhan Barrett launched the campaign yesterday out of frustration at seeing so little done in the wake of her sister Miriam Reidy’s death in January 2011.
She wants to do what she can to make sure nobody again dies in the same circumstances as her sister, who died from the deadly gas emitted from the hotel’s commercial heating system.
At present, CO alarms only have to be fitted into new build dwellings and commercial premises are not obliged to have them.

Sean Giffney carbon monoxide poisoning Miriam Reidy
Sean Giffney: ‘This is something that needs to be looked at as a matter of urgency.’

APHCI chairman Sean Giffney said last night: ‘It’s very difficult to know the illegal element that are installed in small premises.
‘There are no regulations covering the installation of boilers in commercial premises.
‘We know of commercial premises that have had installed domestic appliances, and as such they come under the control of the RGii certification scheme.
‘But given that we also know the total estimate of illegally installed fuel burning appliances, we believe a small proportion – between 6,000 and 8,000 – of these are used in public premises.
‘This is something that needs to be looked at as a matter of urgency.’
On Mrs Barrett’s campaign, he added: ‘We would support what she is trying to do.
‘We believe these alarms can be put in at a relatively low cost and it’s a commons sense measure we also believe should be legislated for.

Adrian Cummins carbon monoxide poisoning  Miriam Reidy
Adrian Cummins: ‘I can’t see our members objecting to putting in CO alarms if the cost and the science is right and stacks up.’

Last night, the Restaurants Association of Ireland was the first organisation to show backing for Mrs Barrett’s campaign.
CEO Adrian Cummins said: ‘You have to think about the logistics of something like this.
‘But I can’t see our members objecting to putting in CO alarms if the cost and the science is right and stacks up.
‘We would be delighted to support this initiative if it was brought in on a voluntary basis to begin with to see how it gets one.
‘People in the business community need to be educated about the need for such alarms and that some kind of voluntary code should be agreed to.
‘The government needs to look at this as well, as do the various other business bodies.’
He added: ‘A CO alarm is like a smoke alarm. It’s the same principle.
‘If the costs are at a minimum, I’d say restaurants would do it.’

Carbon Monoxide suffering
Bord Gas Networks ‘Tommy’ campaign: Stone dead in three minutes.

Owen Wilson, Head of Network Safety, Gas Networks Ireland, said: ‘Carbon Monoxide poisoning is completely preventable.
‘Correct installation, regular maintenance and servicing of fuel burning appliances by a registered technician and safe use of appliances are the best means of keeping your home and business safe.
‘For added protection, Gas Networks Ireland recommend the fitting of one or more audible carbon monoxide alarms.
‘Gas Network Ireland supports a range of initiatives to counteract the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.
‘Information campaigns, regular servicing, competency schemes, enforcement of existing codes and new legislation can all play a role in reducing the incidence of carbon monoxide poisoning.’
Do you know anybody who has lost a loved one from carbon monoxide poisoning? Contact randomirish @ icloud . com

ends

More people like Miriam Reidy will die from carbon monoxide poisoning.

MORE PEOPLE will die before a simple measure to warn about carbon monoxide poisoning is legislated for, the sister of a woman who died in 2011 has predicted.

Siobhán Barrett’s sister Miriam Reidy died in Kinsale’s Trident Hotel, Co Cork, after the deadly gas leaked into her hotel room. Mrs Barrett is to launch a campaign to make it compulsory for all buildings – whether public or private – to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed. They cost as little as €16 and take just seconds to install.

Miriam Reidy carbon monoxide poisoning
Miriam Reidy

‘Since Miriam died, nothing has changed as far as I can see it,’ Mrs Barrett said last night. ‘In health and safety terms, her death was little more than an insignificant incident and just doesn’t seem to have made any difference to anything.

‘As much as I hate to say this because I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, I believe more people will die before the powers that be actually do something.’

Her comments come as a joint Oireachtas committee report on gas safety is due to be released in the Dail on Wednesday. It follows on from a warning in 2012 about the ‘ticking time bomb’ of illegally-installed gas boilers.

There are an estimated 100,000 illegally-installed gas appliances around the country. In addition, there are more than 2,300 plumbers operating around the country who are either not fully registered or even qualified to install gas boilers.

Wednesday’s Dail report is due to recommend that anyone who wants to buy a boiler will either have to be a fully registered gas installer or be able to prove that will be installed by one.

Miriam Reidy carbon monoxide poisoning
‘Miriam died through no fault of her own but the fact that there is no accountability it just heart-breaking.’

The issue of carbon monoxide alarms in public premises is not, however, among recommendations for action, yet. This is in part to do with the recent change in law which means all new build dwelling houses have to have them installed.

But it is the lack of any legal obligation on the part of owners of public premises to install carbon monoxide alarms that most concerns Siobhán Barrett.

Last night, Trident Hotel MD Hal McElroy said: ‘There is no legislation or requirement for hotels to have carbon monoxide alarms in hotel rooms.

‘Having given this consideration and taken advice, we fitted detectors on the new boiler system at source which is a more efficient way of ensuring that the CO or any variation in output will close down the boilers.

‘There can be no CO without combustion. This is in fact a safer and more efficient way of ensuring the safety of our guests and staff.

‘This device detects, at source, a presence of carbon monoxide or any irregularities in the system, and in the event of either, would immediately shut the boiler system down.’

Miriam died at the hotel on January 9, 2011, five days after the hotel’s boiler was converted from natural gas to liquid petroleum gas. Plumber Richard Davis, who converted the boiler, was subsequently tried for manslaughter and other charges and found not guilty. Mr Davis of Killanully, Ballygarvan, Co. Cork, had denied all charges.

‘There is a frustration in our hearts and in our heads about the fact that someone can die in a hotel room and nothing happens as a result. That adds to the hurt we all feel as a result of her sad loss’.

The Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard how Ms Reidy, 35, and her sister, Patricia Reidy Russell, were staying at the hotel while in Kinsale for their cousin Marie Reidy’s hen party.

They had returned to their room at around 1am. Neither of them had drunk very much. Miriam collapsed when she got up to go to the bathroom during the night and Patricia called a doctor after helping her ‘dazed’ sister into bed.

The women, who initially thought their drinks might have been spiked, were treated with injections for the vomiting bug. Later that day, when Marie – concerned she couldn’t contact them – went to their room, she discovered them and performed CPR on Miriam while a pal called 999. Paramedics fought to save her but she was already dead. Patricia, who was also violently ill, was rushed to hospital and her life spared.

The State had alleged Mr Davis failed to correctly convert the boiler to run on petroleum gas. The trial heard it was installed without a carbon monoxide safety test being carried out. It also emerged that shaft ducts in the hotel, which was built in 1965 and refurbished in 2004, had not been fire-sealed.

As a result, the boiler produced large amounts of carbon monoxide, which migrated through incompletely sealed service ducts and into hotel rooms, the trial heard. Other guests, including Limerick City FC player Ian Turner and his girlfriend, were also affected by the poisonous gas.

The defence argued commissioning of the boiler was not the only issue. They said the accumulation of gases due to ineffective flues and the passage of gases through incompletely sealed service ducts into Miriam and Patricia’s room were also factors.

‘Miriam will be forever in the hearts and thoughts of all those of us who work in the Trident Hotel.”

The jury found Mr Davis not guilty of unlawfully killing Miriam. It also found him not guilty in his capacity as a director of Davis Plumbing and Heating Contractors Ltd to two breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 relating to the conversion of a gas boiler for use with liquid petroleum gas at the Trident Hotel on or about January 4, 2011.

Miriam Reidy carbon monoxide poisoning
‘It is heart-breaking to think a young woman, our sister, died and there was no accountability on any level for her death,’ says Siobhan Barrett.

His company, Davis Plumbing and Heating Contractors Ltd, was found not guilty of two similar breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act on dates in January 2011.

‘We still carry an awful lot of hurt about the whole thing,’ Siobhán said last night. ‘The court case got us a hearing and the outcome was the outcome and as a family we have to respect that.

‘But it is heart-breaking to think a young woman, our sister, died and there was no accountability on any level for her death and that is one of the heart-breaking things about her death.

‘There is a frustration in our hearts and in our heads about the fact that someone can die in a hotel room and nothing happens as a result. That adds to the hurt we all feel as a result of her sad loss.

‘If Miriam’s death meant anything in the context of health and safety, then something would have been done to help make sure it doesn’t happen again.

‘We are trying to get on with our lives but we are always hoping that something will be done to change the way things are as far as carbon monoxide detectors are concerned.

‘Miriam died through no fault of her own but the fact that there is no accountability it just heart-breaking. It’s almost as if her death wasn’t enough of a wake-up call for someone to do something and pay attention.

‘I suppose the reality of the situation in this is that if it happened a second time, and another person’s daughter or sister died in a hotel again, maybe then they might realise the situation. Maybe they might finally say “Hello, we might need to change the law here.”

Miriam Reidy carbon monoxide poisoning
Cork Co Co Mayor John Paul O’Shea: ‘Cork County Council does not have responsibility for certification of completed works to a building, it is the developer and their professional advisors who do so.’

‘I wish it wasn’t the case but I feel that is the only way they will do something, because clearly Miriam’s death hasn’t been enough for them. And you know the pace of change in this country.’

Of her sister, she said: ‘Had Miriam been alive this year she would have celebrated her 40th birthday this May. Instead of attending a 40th birthday party, we visited her favourite beach in Kerry – Banna beach and released some balloons in her memory.

‘Miriam was a kind and gentle natured young woman, very close to her family and she had a good circle of friends. When she died she was just in the middle of plans to move into a new home with her boyfriend and move onto the next phase of life – get married and have her own family.

‘Instead that dream was stolen from her – she was taken from us and it now appears that her death was insignificant.’

She added: ‘Her death has left a huge void in our family and in all of our lives and that will be there forever. We live with the pain of her loss every day.

‘It would be of some small comfort to us to know that her needless death was not in vain and that legislative changes would have come in to effect as a result.’

Cork County Council was asked to explain what it has done since Miriam Reidy’s death to help prevent another death like hers but it declined to comment on any action it has taken.

Instead, spokesperson Tom O’Sullivan said: ‘The Health and Safety Authority investigated this incident in Kinsale and is the statutory body responsible for the issues raised in your questions. There is no issue for the CCC planning department.’

When Cork County Council mayor councillor John Paul O’Shea was then approached, he replied: ‘The HSA is the statutory body that inspects promises from a health and safety compliance perspective and has powers to enter any building at any time to do so and to order specific actions.

‘Also, Cork County Council does not have responsibility for certification of completed works to a building, it is the developer and their professional advisors who do so.’

Unlike Cork County Council, the Trident Hotel did at at least acknowledge the loss felt by the Reidy family.

MD Hal McElroy said: ‘Following the tragic death of Miriam Reidy, we expressed, and again wish to express our sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones, and we wish to state again how profoundly sorry we are for their loss. Miriam will be forever in the hearts and thoughts of all those of us who work in the Trident Hotel.’

A Department of the Environment spokesperson said: ‘From an analysis of the incidents that have occurred in the UK, the predominant area for carbon monoxide fatalities is in dwellings.

‘This analysis would appear to suggest that non-domestic buildings would not be considered high risk category having regard to the number of carbon monoxide incidences involved.’

Have you lost a loved one from carbon monoxide poisoning in a public premises? Email randomirish @ icloud . com