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Spanish Death Inquiry.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 19 May 2004

Wednesday, 19 May 2004

Questions (138)

Tony Gregory

Question:

138 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the assistance his Department has given to the parent of a person (details supplied); the response of the Spanish authorities; if there is further action that can be taken to ensure a more thorough investigation of this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14823/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

I am very aware of the case that the Deputy has mentioned. I and all who have been involved in this case on behalf of the Government, have the greatest sympathy for the family of this person. My Department, through the consular division, the Irish Embassy in Madrid and the Honorary Consulate in Las Palmas has been providing extensive consular assistance to the family since April 2003 when we became aware of the case. The person mentioned by the Deputy sustained fatal injuries on holiday in Gran Canaria, on 27 April 2003 and died in Las Palmas General Hospital on 13 May.

When his family arrived at the hospital the Irish Ambassador in Madrid made representations to the Director of Health Services for the Canary Islands to secure more extensive access to the intensive care unit of the hospital for the family. The honorary consul's assistant attended the hospital to act as a translator and provide general assistance to the family. Following his death, the embassy and honorary consul continued their efforts on behalf of the family, providing the names of English-speaking lawyers, maintaining continuous contact with the investigating police, forwarding official medical reports and the autopsy, and the official police report to the family. Also during this time, the honorary consulate, the embassy, and consular section remained in direct contact with the person's family.

The person's family involved the gardaí in September 2003, and they interviewed a large number of Irish holidaymakers who were in Gran Canaria in April 2003. Subsequently a chief superintendent travelled to Gran Canaria to report on their efforts to the Spanish police. In addition, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform also wrote to his Spanish counterpart about the case.

An inquest into his death was opened by Dublin City Coroner on 26 November 2003 and was adjourned until 26 February 2004 when it was further adjourned until 23 June 2004 when further evidence will be taken. At my request, the embassy in Madrid made formal representation to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting their assistance in expediting the forwarding of a copy of the investigation file from the Spanish authorities which is required by the Garda authorities for this inquest hearing. I assure the Deputy that my Department will continue to provide all appropriate consular assistance to the family.

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