Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Questions (269, 279, 280)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

269. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress with regard to establishing a public inquiry into the death of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5062/19]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

279. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the action he has taken to establish a public enquiry into an incident as passed by a vote in Dáil Éireann on 14 June 2018; the reason for the delay in giving effect to this decision; if he has received advice from the Attorney General in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5293/19]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

280. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to media reports (details supplied); if he will direct An Garda Síochána to provide an explanation on the discrepancies as reported; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5294/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 269, 279 and 280 together.

The Deputy will recall that last June the Dáil passed a motion calling for a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the fatal road incident in which a young man, Shane O'Farrell, tragically lost his life.

Since the passing of the Dáil motion I have been considering how best to give effect to the wishes of the House. I have consulted with the Attorney General. As I have previously emphasised, this Government has long been committed to considering what further steps could be taken with regard to this case once the ongoing investigations into the matter by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission were completed.

I have now been informed by GSOC that their disciplinary investigation is complete and that they have provided a copy of the report to the Garda Commissioner for follow up and written to the O’Farrell family with regard to their findings. I met with the O'Farrell family today to outline how I intend to take the matter forward. A District Court Judge, Gerard Haughton, is being appointed to conduct a scoping exercise into the circumstances leading to Shane O'Farrell's tragic death.

I also took the opportunity to once again express my sincere condolences to Mrs. O'Farrell and her family for their tragic loss and I have assured them that Judge Haughton will meet with them in early course and that he is entirely free to recommend any course of action to me which he considers appropriate.

The judge has been asked to submit an interim report within 8 weeks, as part of which he will indicate the expected timeframe for completion of the scoping exercise. The terms of reference will be published on my Department’s website today.