Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (411)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

411. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice her plans to launch an independent inquiry into the shooting of a person (details supplied) in which the current policing procedures would be reviewed to ascertain whether they are fit for purpose with regard to minorities and persons with mental health issues; if additional safeguarding measures are required; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2207/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As previously, I extend my deepest sympathies to all those impacted by the tragic event in Hartstown, and in particular to the family of the late Mr George Nkencho. All fatal shootings are deeply distressing, and I know that the local community are experiencing real trauma as a result of these events.

As is the case in every incident involving a member of An Garda Síochána that results in the death of a person, the shooting is of course being fully and independently investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), which is chaired by a High Court Judge, the Hon Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring.

Such incidents are very rare in Ireland but all are fully investigated independently. GSOC have written to my Department to confirm that they have begun a criminal investigation under section 98 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005. As the Deputy may be aware, GSOC can make wider systemic recommendations on issues they investigate and they are free to do that in this instance also.

I know that Gardaí have also been engaging with the local community with regard to the trauma caused by the incident, and family liaison officers from both GSOC and An Garda Síochána are available to the Nkencho family.

At the same time, Gardaí are investigating the incidents at Hartstown Shopping Centre and the events leading to the shooting. There are well established protocols in place between GSOC and the Gardaí to allow these parallel but separate investigations to take place.

Given that these processes are ongoing, it would not be appropriate to consider a separate inquiry at this time. I will of course give any further consideration appropriate to this matter when the GSOC investigation is completed.