Northern Ireland

Bomb victim’s family consider taking new inquest request to European court

Eugene Dalton was killed in 1988 (Family/PA)
Eugene Dalton was killed in 1988 (Family/PA)

The family of a man killed in an IRA bomb attack in Derry in 1988 are considering going to the European Court of Human Rights to secure a fresh inquest.

Eugene Dalton and Sheila Lewis were killed in the blast in the Creggan area of Derry, while Gerard Curran died of his injuries seven months later.

The attack became known as the “Good Samaritan bombing” because they had been checking on a neighbour who had not been seen in a few days.

On entering his flat, they triggered a bomb that ultimately led to the three deaths.

IRA explosion deaths
Dalton family members Phyllis Kealey (second right) and her sister Rosaleen Quigley stand outside the High Court in Belfast with their solicitor Kevin Winters (left) and legal executive Anurag Deb (PA)

A report by Northern Ireland’s Police Ombudsman in 2013 found that the RUC had failed in their duty to advise the local community of possible IRA activities in the area, and also failed to properly investigate the deaths.

The Dalton family previously applied for a fresh inquest into their loved one’s death but this was refused by former attorney general John Larkin.

They have continued to challenge this decision.

On Wednesday, the UK Supreme Court upheld the decision not to order a new inquest into Mr Dalton’s death.

Anurag Deb of KRW Law, acting for the Dalton family, said they will consider whether to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“We will consider the judgment carefully with our client and counsel and consider whether to bring the matter to the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg,” he said.

The case comes as new legislation by the UK government moves to end court processes concerning Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act includes a limited form of immunity from prosecution for Troubles-related offences to those who co-operate with the new Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery. It will also halt future civil cases and inquests.

The new legislation is being challenged at the High Court in Belfast by a number of victims’ families.