Northern Ireland news


Father of teenager who died in Greenvale Hotel tragedy calls for public inquiry

Connor Currie (16), Lauren Bullock (17) and Morgan Barnard (17) died during a crush outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on St Patrick's Night, 2019
Connla Young

The father of a teenager who died during a crush at the Greenvale Hotel in 2019 has called on justice minister Naomi Long to hold a public inquiry into the tragedy.

James Bradley last night said it is "essential" that an inquiry is held into the events that led to the deaths of his son and two other teenagers.

Morgan Barnard was one of three young people who died as they queued to get into a disco at the Cookstown hotel on St Patrick's Night two years ago.

The other two teenagers were Lauren Bullock (17) and 16-year-old Connor Currie.

The tragedy is currently the subject of separate PSNI and Police Ombudsman investigations.

The Irish News revealed yesterday that Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson believes a multi-agency approach is "required to investigate the range of health and safety issues raised by the case".

The ombudsman has now called for a wider investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy and believes a multi-agency approach is "required to investigate the range of health and safety issues raised by the case".

"In my view a co-ordinated investigative approach is the best way of identifying everything that went wrong and identifying measures which could prevent similar circumstances in the future,” she said.

Ms Anderson also confirmed she has broadened her investigation into the Greenvale Hotel deaths to include the policing of the ‘night time economy' in Cookstown, and "in particular individual officers' conduct relating to enforcement of alcohol licensing conditions".

She also confirmed that her office is unable to investigate some of the issues identified.

Solicitor Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, has written to Ms Long requesting a public inquiry.

Mr Bradley last night said "the ombudsman's timely intervention comes in the same week we have formally sought the holding of a public inquiry into Morgan's death".

"It has always been clear to us that an overarching investigation in the form of a public inquiry would be required to ensure that the full truth was exposed, and those responsible held to account," he said.

Mr Bradley said the need for a public inquiry is vital.

"It is essential that a public inquiry is opened to formally investigate all of those responsible so that lessons can be learned before someone else loses a child in these horrendous circumstances," he said.

"We are deeply grateful to Ms Anderson for recognising this and formally calling for an overarching investigation."

Mr Mackin said a wide-ranging investigation is required.

"It has been clear from the outset that a public inquiry which has the necessary powers to investigate all of the failings in this case is necessary to establish the truth," he said.

"The current approach is piecemeal and ineffective."

Mr Mackin added that the "reality is the Police Ombudsman has now carefully considered the material and has come to the conclusion that such an investigation is essential.

"We have formally invited the minister to hold a public inquiry without further delay to ensure that no further lives are lost and that lessons are learned to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again," he said.

The Department of Justice was contacted.

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