Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has said there needs to be a full Garda investigation to establish the facts of how a five litre tin that may have contained a flammable liquid was mysteriously found at the scene of the fire at Adelaide Villas in Bray that Killed firefighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy the day after the fatal fire on September 26th 2007. The Forensic Crime Scene Investigation Unit from the Gardaí carried out a full search of the scene immediately after the fire on the 26th and no can was photographed at the locating it was subsequently found.
Speaking after leaving the inquest into the deaths of Brian and Mark which was adjourned on Thursday Councillor John Brady said “There was a dramatic turn of events on Thursday at the inquest into the deaths of Bray Firefighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy when evidence was shown that a can mysteriously appeared at the scene the day after the fire. The significance of this is huge as Wicklow County Council and their experts say it possibly contained a liquid and may have expanded during the blaze, creating vapours that blew off the screw top cap, causing an explosion, resulting in a fireball which incapacitated the men and led to their deaths.”
“Once the fire was extinguished on the 26th September at about 3pm the Crime Scene Investigation Unit from the Gardaí entered the burnt out premises at Adelaide Villas and photographed the entire area. The scene was then secured and released at about 6.30pm. The following day Michael Slattery of Slattery and Associates of Dublin who was engaged by Wicklow County Council to investigate the fire entered the sealed building with Wicklow fire officials, then Chief Fire Officer, Jim Dunphy, and two senior assistant chief fire officers, Joanne O’Connor and Tadhg O’Shea. They photographed the interior of the building and the slightly singed can was mysteriously found on a pile of burnt debris, its lid lying beside it and contents label still legible.”
Brady continued “The Council and their experts have but huge emphasis on the presence of this can and Michael Slattery was paid in excess of €53,777 to draft a report which essentially shows how the can exploded causing a huge fireball and ultimately killing Brian and Mark. At the inquest photos shown by the Gardaí that were taken on the 26th September clearly show that there was no such can where the Council and Michael Slattery claim to have found it the following day.”
“Over the course of the inquest we have heard evidence about the manning levels in the fire service, radios not working, not enough fire tenders being dispatched, and the lack of training given to firefighters, recordings in the watch room at the fire station in Bray getting wiped from the system. However the dramatic evidence on Thursday relating to the can clearly calls into question the credibility of the Slattery report, his hypothesis on the can and its resulting effects.”
Cllr Brady concluded “The evidence clearly shows that the can mysteriously appeared sometime between 6.30pm on the 26th September 2007 and the time the senior staff from Wicklow County Council and Michael Slattery photographed its presence the following day. This raises the following serious questions, who put the can there? Why did they put it there? The tampering of a crime scene is a serious offence and so too is the planting or fabrication of evidence. I believe the Gardaí must now investigate this to establish the answers to these questions and hold the person or persons responsible.”