Thursday, 28 January 2016

Questions (183)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

183. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality given the serious allegations concerning misconduct by An Garda Síochána and inadequacies surrounding a case (details supplied), and given the need for the probity and independence of the Independent Review Mechanism, if she will authorise publication of the report prepared in 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3478/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The particular case to which the Deputy refers is amongst those considered under the mechanism established for the independent review of certain allegations of Garda misconduct, or inadequacies in the investigation of certain allegations, which have been made to me as Minister for Justice and Equality, or the Taoiseach with a view to determining to what extent and in what manner further action may be required in each case. A panel consisting of two senior and five junior counsel was established for that purpose.

I wish to stress the independence of this process. The cases have all been considered by independent barristers, all selected, on the basis of their experience of the criminal justice system to form the Panel to conduct this review. Following their reviews of the papers in each complaint, counsel made recommendations to me, as to whether or not further action should be carried out by me, and if so the nature of that action.

Furthermore, I have previously assured Deputies that where further investigation has been recommended by the review then that will occur. However, I have also pointed out that in a large proportion of cases, counsel would be likely to recommend that no further action could reasonably be taken, particularly in cases where the complainant has received due process but remains dissatisfied with the outcome. The crucial point, however, is that every case has been reviewed by independent counsel, who have made an objective recommendation.

I also appointed a retired judge, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy, to advise on the preparation of letters notifying individuals as to the outcome of the review in their particular cases. I was concerned that these letters should not only set out the recommendation of counsel, but also outline as far as possible the reasons for the recommendation, subject to any legal constraints there may be. I made this appointment in order to provide complete reassurance on the probity and independence of this entire process, from start to finish.

I do not see how the publication of the report that the Deputy is referring to, could be seen as having any bearing on the probity and independence of the independent review mechanism. Following the receipt of the report by the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Brian Lenihan, the legal advisors of the person concerned were given access to the report and, following consultation with them, it was decided not to publish the report. In my view, the circumstances have not altered in the interim and I do not propose to publish the report. I can, however, inform the Deputy that the Panel, in considering this particular case, was provided with a copy of the report.