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Anti-vaxxer Antonio Mureddu claims questions over death of Joe McCarron are 'a crime'

Officers will investigate whether the actions of Mureddu, in entering the hospital and encouraging Mr McCarron to leave against medical advice, constitute a criminal offence

Antonio Mureddu is confronted by the Sunday World

Patrick O'Connell

The anti-vaxxer who encouraged Covid-stricken Joe McCarron to leave hospital care prior to his death this week accused the Sunday World of "committing a crime" when we tried to question him about his role in the tragedy.

Antonio Mureddu is due to appear before Galway District Court tomorrow on a charge of breaching Covid laws in April last year.

But it was his actions in entering Letterkenny University Hospital on September 14 and telling the now deceased Mr McCarron "if you stay here, they're going to f**king kill you," that we wished to speak to him about.

The Sunday World revealed last week how a senior investigator had been appointed by gardai to examine the events leading up to former local election candidate McCarron's death at the hospital on September 24.

As part of the probe, its understood officers will investigate whether the actions of Mureddu, in entering the hospital and encouraging Mr McCarron to leave against medical advice, constitute a criminal offence.

Over the course of Wednesday afternoon and evening, our reporter knocked on the front door of Mureddu's address in Galway on three separate occasions.

On each occasion, no-one came to the door.

Our man Patrick O’Connell with Mureddu

At approximately 6.40pm, our reporter drove a distance down the road.

A short time later, Mureddu exited the property and got into a 09 Galway registered Alfa Romeo before driving out the Galway Road and stopping to post a letter at a post box in Corrandulla.

Our reporter approached Mureddu at this location and informed him he wished to ask him some questions about Joe McCarron.

Mureddu responded: "I'm not saying anything - it will all be in a statement soon."

Asked if this meant he did not wish to say anything about the events preceding Mr McCarron's death, Mureddu repeated he had nothing to say.

He then inquired as to whether our reporter was recording him.

Mureddu then accused our reporter of committing a crime.

"You are interfering with me as I go about my business," he said.

"You are following me.

"You are committing a crime."

Joe McCarron who ran for election died in hospital after leaving and then returning to Letterkenny General

Mureddu then demanded our reporter go back and sit in his car - at which stage we cut off the interview after deciding Mureddu was not going to say anything relevant to our inquiries.

After Mureddu's intervention at Letterkenny University Hospital on September 14, Mr McCarron left the facility with him and went home - only for his condition to deteriorate, necessitating his return to the hospital's ICU by ambulance two days later.

Mr McCarron passed away at the hospital on September 24 - eight days after his emergency return.

In a statement to the Sunday World issued yesterday, gardaí confirmed all the circumstances surrounding Mr McCarron's death are now being formally investigated.

"An Garda Síochána continues to investigate a number of recent incidents which occurred at Letterkenny University Hospital," the statement read. "A senior investigating officer is appointed to oversee the investigation. "An Garda Síochána has no further comment at this time.

Joe McCarron

As part of the investigations, gardaí are also expected to review a video recorded by Mr McCarron after he left the hospital and returned to his home in Dungloe.

In this video, Mr McCarron, a former election candidate with prominent anti-vaxxer Ben Gilroy's Direct Democracy Ireland, praised his 'good friend' Mureddu and his 'friends' in the Common Law Office who gathered all 'the common law paperwork which the boys brought into the hospital this morning."

The activities of Antonio Mureddu Gravegliu have previously been documented by The - a website that monitors the activities of right-wing activists in this country.

Gravegliu is a known 'Freeman of the Land' activist.

Advocates of this belief claim they're not bound by any laws they have not consented to.

On his Telegram channel Mureddu has also posted template letters which claim they give the issuer power of attorney over hospital patients.

In a previous video posted by Mureddu, which circulated widely online a number of weeks ago, he filmed himself arguing with a garda after being stopped for speeding in August.

The garda is recorded telling Mureddu that he was travelling at 158kph.

Antonio on the video which he filmed inside the hospital

Mureddu states he doesn't have his driver's licence, is "very busy" and demands to be told what laws he has broken.

He also tells the garda that "I'll ask the questions" and says, "I'm the master and you are the servant".

The garda eventually takes Mureddu's details and asks him to present his driver's licence at a garda station of his choice.

Mureddu is due to appear before Galway District Court on October 20 charged with speeding as a consequence of that incident.

Separately, he is due to appear before Galway District Court tomorrow charged with breaching anti-Covid laws at Coolagh, Oranmore on April 10 this year.

The charges allege that he left his place of residence without reasonable excuse.

Mr McCarron's high-profile death in Letterkenny University Hospital has led to calls for increased security at Irish hospitals to deal with the threats posed by anti-vaxxers.

General secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the issue that has arisen is that, "there is, in this country, an anti-vaccination group that are trying to get inroads into certain areas.

"We saw what happened in Letterkenny where the terrible incident of [them] actually attending a hospital and trying to get a patient who was vulnerable to discharge and to self-discharge," she said.

"I really think that the issue for us right now is the security and information," she said. "[We need] security to ensure that the incident that happened in Letterkenny is not repeated.

"We've asked the HSE to ensure that they have security measures in place that prevents that, because healthcare workers are busy enough. They do not need to be dealing with misinformation and that type of behaviour towards very sick and vulnerable people.

"It's very frightening [for healthcare workers]," she added.

"But I think it is fair to say from my observation of the video that the healthcare workers acted very professionally.

"They spoke directly to the patient and they asked him to reconsider."

Ms Ní Sheaghdha said they had been calling for a review of security "in all settings for a number of months" as members are facing an "increase in assault and verbal abuse".

Mr McCarron, who died from the virus, was buried on Sunday following his funeral mass at St Crona's Church in Dungloe.

At least five people were asked to leave the church because they were not wearing facemasks in line with government guidelines.

Gardaí have confirmed they attended the church after a report was made to them of people not wearing facemasks.

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