Written Answers. - Ballycotton (Cork) Drownings.

Peter Barry

Question:

120 Mr. Barry asked the Minister for the Marine if he will make available to the relatives of the deceased, on a confidential basis, the report of the inspection into the drownings off Ballycotton, County Cork.

On 28 September I announced the holding of a public formal investigation under the Merchant Shipping Acts.

This investigation will be chaired by a district justice sitting with two assessors with suitable nautical experience or knowledge to assist the court in its deliberations. The court will investigate all aspects of the Ballycotton incident at a public hearing and may call any person it sees fit to help it in its deliberations and it may also hear from any interested parties or their representatives. Having considered the circumstances of the case the court will make a report and include any opinions or observations it thinks fit. This report will then be published in full for the information of the general public and the interested parties.

I have decided that it would be entirely improper of me to disclose the contents of Captain Kirwan's report having regard in particular to the basis on which some of the evidence used in that report was collected.

The investigation which I have ordered will ensure a fair and formal framework within which evidence can be taken and examined in a public judicial forum.