herald

Friday 20 October 2017

Slain Michael's mum makes trip to shooting scene

THE mother of an Irish security worker, who was shot dead by Bolivian special forces, has described her first visit to the South American country as "hugely emotional".

Caroline Dwyer visited the hotel room where her son Michael Dwyer (24) was killed in 2009, following an alleged plot to assassinate president Evo Morales.

Ms Dwyer travelled to Bolivia with her eldest daughter Aisling last week, where they visited the Las Americas Hotel in Santa Cruz.

Shooting

She told the Herald how she has become even more certain of her son's innocence after meeting with witnesses, government ministers and officials with knowledge of the shooting.

"We went over for two reasons really. One was a personal journey to see where Michael spent the last week of his life.

"The other was to make a complaint about the extra judicial killing," Ms Dwyer explained.

They flew to the country on Saturday and she said that the first time they visited the room where her son's body was found, it was "hugely difficult".

She revealed how she has studied so much evidence regarding her son's case that she was able to find the room where his body was found herself.

"We were allowed to go to the room. The staff asked us if we wanted to be shown to the room and I said 'no I can find it myself'.

"I spent some time in the room alone. It's so small. The man who shot Michael was just centimetres away from him - he was right on top of him," she said.

Ms Dwyer said that the hotel was under new management and that while they were helpful, they didn't want the media attention. They family agreed not to hold any press conferences there.

And there was one moment in which Ms Dwyer felt that she was intimidated when the police came looking for her at the hotel last Sunday.

"The police came to the hotel. That unnerved me. They had come on the Sunday and the owner of the hotel said he didn't know when we'd be back," she said.

Ms Dwyer also claimed that she was followed and photographed during her trip, outside of public appearances that she was scheduled to make.

Plot

Among the other items on her itinerary was a trip to a trail in which 31 people were accused of plotting against the president. While there, she said a man, who had a role in ordering the shooting of Mr Dwyer, apologised to her.

"He said he was part of the ministry in government responsible for killing my son," she said.

Mr Dwyer, from Brocka, Ballinderry, Co Tipperary, was killed in April 2009, for his alleged part in the plot.

The family also flew to La Paz, where they met the foreign affairs minister, the minister for government and justice minister, to hand over an official complaint. They returned to Ireland on Saturday.

Ms Dwyer said that she will continue to push for an independent investigation into the shooting of her son.

hnews@herald.ie

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