Wheelock's brother arrested before anniversary march

Hundreds attend protest outside Store St Garda station to commemorate man who died after being found unconscious in a Garda cell. By John Byrne

Gavin Wheelock, a brother of Terence Wheelock who died after being found unconscious in a cell in Store St Garda station in May last year, was arrested on his way to a protest to commemorate his brother's death. Gavin Wheelock (17) was arrested for having a half-finished placard which the Garda claimed could have been used as a weapon. He was held for the duration of the protest but was not charged.

"Gavin was in his friend's garden with the cardboard in one had and the stick in the other," said Gavin Wheelock's brother, Laurence. "The guards stopped outside in a car and took the placard off him. They drove off, but then came back and asked Gavin his name. Then they arrested him and took him down to the station, and didn't let him out until the protest was over.

"It's just more of the harassment we've had to endure from the gardaí since Terence died."

Terence Wheelock's death has been a source of tension between gardaí in the north inner city and local people. Three weeks ago, a thirteen year old inner city boy was arrested by gardaí. Crying as he was arrested, a garda allegedly said to him: "If you don't fucking stop your whingeing, we'll do to you what we did to Terence Wheelock."

"He was bawling his eyes out when he came home," said the boy's mother, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals from the Garda against her son. "He was beaten by gardaí while in the station. He was afraid they were going to kill him. I've no problem with the Garda arresting my son if he's done wrong, but beating him and threatening to kill him is completely unfair. The gardaí are out of control in this area, particularly recently. It's been getting much worse."

Between three and four hundred people attended a rally on 3 June on the first anniversary of Terence Wheelock's death. The rally, which stopped outside Store St Garda station, was addressed by members of the Wheelock family, as well as Joe Costello, a TD for the Labour Party, and Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin. The protest passed off peacefully.

The family renewed their call for an independent inquiry into Terence Wheelock's death.

The family of Johnner Moloney, an 18 year old man who died shortly after being released from a Garda station in Dublin, plans to hold a similar protest in the coming months. Johnner Moloney was found collapsed fifteen minutes after leaving Rathfarnham Garda station on 4 May 2003 and died ten days later. His family also wants an independent inquiry.