Smith: Tánaiste's support for inquest into Sean Brown killing heartening

Published on: 07 March 2024

Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has described Tánaiste Micheál Martin’s support for an inquiry into the killing of GAA official Sean Brown by loyalists in 1997 as heartening.

The inquest into Sean Brown’s murder collapsed this week in Belfast with the coroner saying it could not proceed due to the number of files being withheld by the British Government.

Deputy Smith called on the Tánaiste in the Dáil today (March 7, 2024) to support the family of Sean Brown in their request for a public inquiry.

“The Government needs to continue to reassure victims and families of victims that we will relentlessly pursue the need for truth and justice.  That message has to be reinforced with every engagement with the British Government,” the Cavan-Monaghan TD said. 

“I recently spoke to the Tánaiste at the request of Patsy McGlone MLA regarding the need for the Government to support the request for a public inquiry into the death of Sean Brown, a highly regarded GAA activist in Derry.  We must show that we stand with Sean's widow, Bridie, her family and friends, Bellaghy GAA club and the wider community in Derry.”

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin TD, in response, said: In the Sean Brown case, I support the family in its quest for an inquiry.  We would have preferred if both Governments and all the political parties in Northern Ireland could have agreed to a proper legacy facility and mechanism. 

“The British Government and the Irish Government did not see eye to eye on the British Government's proposal, which was a unilateral proposal.  Hence, unfortunately, we then had no option but to take an interstate case.  The overall issue of legacy is not satisfactory at the moment.”

Deputy Smith added: "I'm hugely heartened by the Tánaiste's backing for a public inquiry into Sean Brown's brutal killing. His family deserve justice."