THE mother of the boy killed in a road traffic accident just outside Westport town in 2004 has welcomed the decision by the Gardaí to appoint a senior officer to investigate complaints made by the family concerning the Garda investigation of the case.
Kevin McAndrew died on October 25, 2004, eleven days after the motor bicycle he was driving was hit from behind by a car travelling towards Castlebar from Westport. His parents were dissatisfied with the nature of the Garda investigation and have spent the past 18 months campaigning for an independent inquiry into their son’s death. Their campaign appeared to be at an end when the Minister for Justice Mr Michael McDowell, turned down their plea for an inquiry.
However, last week, Kathleen McAndrew received confirmation that a senior officer has been appointed to look into their complaints.
“I expect that we’ll be contacted by the Gardaí this week and we’ll see what happens from there. I was told last week that a senior officer was appointed and because of that I’m cautiously optimistic that there will be some progress. It’s a step in the right direction but my wish would be that it all happens sooner rather than later and that when it does start that it doesn’t drag out for too long,’’ she said.
Senator Jim Higgins, who has campaigned on the family’s behalf for the past 18 months to get the case re-opened, has also acknowledged the new developments in the case.
“I welcome the fact that at the eleventh hour a senior officer has been appointed to examine the family’s complaints. What is of paramount importance is that every aspect of the case is embraced by the person in charge,’’ he said.
Senator Higgins will also be asking the Minister for Justice to confirm when the State Solicitor’s office in Mayo received the file from the Gardaí.
A Garda spokesperson confirmed to The Mayo News that a senior officer would examine all aspects of the complaints made by the McAndrew family.
“The officer carrying out the investigation will speak to everyone that dealt with the case before submitting their findings,’’ a Garda spokesperson told The Mayo News.