P.S.N.I. Chief Constable George Hamilton apologises to family of Morgan Barnard who died in Greenvale Hotel tragedy
P.S.N.I. Chief Constable, George Hamilton, has apologised to the parents of one of the children who died tragically at the Greenvale Hotel near Cookstown on St. Patrick's Day.
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said: “This afternoon I met with James and Maria, the parents of Morgan Barnard, to offer my sincere condolences on the loss of their son who tragically died at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on St Patrick’s Day.
Chief Constable Hamilton made comments last month about the way in which the P.S.N.I. responded to the incident in the March.
"I think they responded in good faith in very difficult circumstances.
“Large numbers of people, lots of uncertainty, perhaps some chaos. So I think those officers were brave and acted in good faith.
"But I do think when we objectively look at the time of arrival and withdrawal and the details of all of that, then there are some questions to answer."
Constable Hamilton's comments were rejected by the family of Morgan Barnard who sadly was one of three children killed.
However, Constable Hamilton met with Morgan Barnard's family on Thursday during which time he "expressed my deep regret".
“I expressed my deep regret if any comment that I have made in relation to the incident has caused the family any further distress," said the outgoing Chief Constable.
"That was never my intention and I have apologised.
"No public commentary by me or any police officer will detract from the independent investigation being conducted into the initial PSNI response by the Police Ombudsman’s office.
“The investigation into the circumstances that led to the deaths of Morgan Barnard, Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie continues and we are very grateful to all the witnesses who have come forward with information.”
George Hamilton is due to step down as Chief Constable of the P.S.N.I. soon and his replacement, Simon Byrne, is expected to be in position before the marching season begins in July.