McCloskey family to lobby for enquiry at opening of Police and Fire Games

Tue, 30/07/2013 - 12:30 -- Editor

The McCloskey Family from Dungiven are to lobby at the official opening of the Police and Fire Games for an independent inquiry into the tragic death of their father Joe.

Joe McCloskey was the Dungiven firefighter who tragically died while fighting a fire at the Gorteen Hotel in Limavady on 31st October, 2003.

Recently the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety Edwin Poots dashed their hopes despite the family winning the support of the Public Accounts Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into senior management in the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

Joe’s widow Marie and her family will stand outside the King’s Hall on Thursday with their banner ‘Justice for Joe’ and distribute leaflets calling for an independent inquiry to establish who gave the fatal order for Joe to climb onto a roof, which then collapsed, causing his death.

The family will be accompanied by SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat, who has been supporting the family in their endeavours to establish the facts which led to Joe’s untimely death.

Mr. Dallat said: “This campaign cries to Heaven for justice, and this family will not give up until someone takes the very brave step of ordering an independent inquiry, which I believe will provide an opportunity for witnesses to tell the truth about the circumstances in which Joe McCloskey plunged to his death.

“The family have the support of assembly members from all political parties and are supported by the Public Accounts Committee as well as the Health Committee, but astonishingly the Minister is still resisting the call for an independent inquiry.

“Recently both the Chairman of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Dr Joe McKee and the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety Dr Andrew McCormick stated publicly at meetings of the PAC that they would not stand in the way of an independent inquiry. 

“I am supporting this campaign because I believe the original inquiries were serious flawed, were not independent and failed to establish the facts which surrounded the death of a very brave fireman who lost his life unnecessarily.

“The McCloskey family are dedicated to the men and women who courageously serve in the NIFRS, and they look forward to their support and that of fire officers from all over the world.”