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'Truth commission is vital' - son of garda killed in the Troubles

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Finian Fallon wants the ‘truth’

Finian Fallon wants the ‘truth’

Finian Fallon wants the ‘truth’

The son of the first garda killed in the Troubles has called for an all-island truth and reconciliation process.

Garda Richard Fallon was shot in April 1970 on Arran Quay in Dublin in the course of a bank robbery by members of Saor Eire, a republican terrorist group.

The 43-year-old's murder sparked outrage, and O'Connell Street was lined with mourners on the day of his funeral.

A ceremony and unveiling of a plaque had been planned for the 50th anniversary of his murder, but it has been postponed due to coronavirus.

Gda Fallon's son, Finian, said it sparked such a reaction as it was the first death of an Irish policeman on duty since 1942.

"People compared it to John F Kennedy's funeral in terms of the size, people were lining O'Connell Street to support him," Mr Fallon said.

"I was four - I remember bits of it, I remember walking up to the graveyard, coats all around me, and I threw a daffodil in after the coffin," he said.

Mr Fallon said he does not expect justice, but simply wants to know the truth and has called for an all-Ireland truth and reconciliation process.

"I do think the Government and others should acknowledge what went on. The State hasn't acknowledged its part yet, and I think it's somewhat cowardly, to be honest," he said.

"There's a peace, but it's not necessarily peace for the victims. The victims are still living with their suffering."

Mr Fallon said there was controversy over where the guns that killed his father had come from.

The same year saw the Arms Crisis, during which Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney were dismissed as cabinet ministers for alleged involvement in a conspiracy to smuggle arms to the IRA in the North.

Neither man was convicted, with charges against Mr Blaney dropped while Mr Haughey and others were found not guilty.

"There were allegations made in the Dail that the guns that killed him came from government sources," Mr Fallon said.

PIECEMEAL

"I think there should be an all-island or across-the-islands truth and reconciliation process, not just this kind of piecemeal, delayed reaction.

"There's an Irish government file on his death which has not been fully released yet. The Government released some of it to an author a few years ago."

Mr Fallon, the youngest of five siblings, said his father's death destroyed his family.

"I can remember standing on his feet as he was walking backwards. My mother never really recovered from his death, she was destroyed by it," he said.