Anthony Kelly claims his mother was denied treatment in custody

Mike Dwane


Mike Dwane

Anthony Kelly, O'Malley Park, said the family could yet take action over the alleged mistreatment of his mother Rita while in Garda custody in Limerick
LIMERICK hardman Anthony Kelly has said a case of alleged garda mistreatment raised by a city GP in Leinster House last week relates to his ailing mother Rita.

LIMERICK hardman Anthony Kelly has said a case of alleged garda mistreatment raised by a city GP in Leinster House last week relates to his ailing mother Rita.

Retired family doctor Richard O’Flaherty told the Oireachtas justice committee that a 45-year-old woman was allowed to fall into a diabetic coma in garda custody in Limerick against his instructions.

But Mr Kelly, Southill, claimed this week his mother would have been closer to 65 years of age when the incident occurred, which he estimates happened around 17 years ago.

“Me and my brother, the late alderman Mike Kelly, were arrested when my mother came down to visit us and they ended up arresting her as well,” he said.

Mr Kelly said he could not recall what he had been arrested for but suggested it could have been part of what he described as “ongoing harassment of my family directed by senior gardai in Limerick”.

He went on to allege that the gardai’s refusal to follow Dr O’Flaherty’s instructions to allow his mother have medication or something to eat had contributed to her falling into a diabetic coma, something he said could have had “very serious consequences”.

Mr Kelly said his mother was seriously ill and “might not be around long enough” to take a case to the Garda Ombudsman.

“We were going down the road of making a complaint at the time but my mother became too ill. She is in a nursing home since not long after Mikey passed away around nine years ago.

“My mother is not going to be there long enough to bring any case but whether the family can bring a case on her behalf, we’ll have to see if we are able to do that,” said Mr Kelly.

It was put to Mr Kelly that as somebody who had been frequently prosecuted by gardai in Limerick – including for the most grave of offences – it was easy for him to come out and criticise the force when it was the subject of such focus. Over 30 years ago, Mr Kelly was acquitted of the killings of the two McCarthy brothers in a pub in Thomondgate. And in 2011, a jury again found him not guilty of possession of a semi-automatic pistol arising from a shooting incident. “I will say on the record that I will defend myself, my family and my property,” Mr Kelly said of his hardman reputation.

“But believe it or not, I have only three convictions since 1977 which is 37 years ago,” he said.

These were for public order, illegal tobacco and relating to the operation of a shebeen.

“In the climate in Limerick, there isn’t too many people can say that in 37 years they have only three convictions. I haven’t a bad criminal record,” he claimed.

“I wouldn’t have it in for all of the guards at all. A lot of the guards in Limerick do their jobs and I’ve no problem with them. But the ones that are corrupt are a serious problem in this town and there’s people getting put in jail in this town that are innocent which is a terrible injustice,” said Mr Kelly.

Meanwhile, the father of a young man with special needs who Dr O’Flaherty alleged had been stripped and beaten while in garda custody in Limerick around eight years ago has also spoken out in recent days.

The man, who spoke to the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk on condition of anonymity, claimed his son, who was then 16, had been “beaten to a pulp” after being arrested for driving with no insurance.

“They [gardai] pulled his pants down and beat him with his belt. They took his gold chain off his neck and shoved it into his mouth. They stood on his neck and doing that damaged his spine,” the father alleged.

He also claimed that paperwork relating to a complaint made by the family relating to his treatment had been lost in the transition from the Garda Complaints Board to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Office.