Written Answers. - Public Safety and Crowd Control.

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

484 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Justice the date of completion of the Garda investigation into the tragic events which took place at the Point Depot on Saturday, 11 May 1996; her views on the fact that details of this investigation were reported in a newspaper (details supplied) on 22 July 1996 in view of the fact that her Department informed Deputy Haughey by telephone on 30 July 1996 that this investigation was not fully completed: her views on the leaking of such information; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16344/96]

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

485 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Justice whether the gardaí directly involved in the investigation into the tragic events which took place at the Point Depot on Saturday, 11 May 1996, recommended that the file should be sent to the Office of the DPP: if so, whether the file was in fact sent to the DPP; if not, the reason therefor: and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16345/96]

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

486 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Justice whether a family (details supplied) was informed of the outcome of the Garda investigation into the tragic events at the Point Depot on Saturday, 11 May 1996; if so, when; the way in which this information was conveyed to the family; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16346/96]

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

487 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Justice the legislative changes, if any, she in considering in relation to public safety and crowd control at indoor pop concerts arising out of the completion of the Garda investigation into the tragic events in the Point Depot on Saturday, 11 May 1996; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16347/96]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 484, 485, 486 and 487 together.

In my reply to a question from the Deputy on 21 May 1996, I indicated that a full Garda investigation into the events at the Point Theatre on Saturday, 11 May 1996, was being undertaken and that this Garda investigation would include the following:

(a) The preparation of a comphrehensive report to the city coroner into the death of a young woman.

(b) Whether a breach of the criminal law has occurred and that if such a breach had occurred a file would be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a decision as to whether or not to prosecute.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that a comprehensive investigation file into the death was completed by the Superintendent, Store Street Garda Station, on 21 August 1996. As there was no evidence of a criminal nature in the investigation file, the report was not referred by the Garda Síochána to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
A copy of the investigation file was sent to the city coroner and I am informed by the Garda authorities that the city coroner has fixed 8 October 1996 as the date for the holding of the inquest into the death of the young woman.
I am further informed that the gardaí were in regular communication with the young woman's family during the course of the Garda investigation. On 22 August 1996, the detective inspector in charge of the investigation informed the mother of the deceased of the inquest date by phone. I understand that in the course of that telephone conversation, the mother of the deceased inquired if the file had been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. She was informed that the file would not be sent forward as the evidence gathered did not disclose the commission of a criminal offence.
An article which purported to refer to the alleged findings of the Garda investigation was published in the media on 22 July 1996. As I have already indicated, the investigation had not been completed at that time and I can very much understand the consequent distress caused to the family. A preliminary report from the Garda authorities indicates that no information was made available by the Garda to the media. I will be asking the Commissioner to furnish me with a final report in the matter.
Further comment on the detail of the report on the events in the Point Theatre would not be appropriate in view of the forthcoming coroner's inquest.
As I have previously announced, the recently enacted Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996, contains a significant amendment to the Public Dance Halls Act, 1935, to allow a member of the Garda, whether in uniform or not, to enter any place where a public dancing licence is in force for the purposes of investigating suspected drug trafficking offences. Prior to this amendment, there was a requirement that the Garda be in uniform, which was clearly unhelpful in the investigation of drug trafficking offences. Other aspects of the Public Dance Halls Act, 1935, and related legislation are under consideration in my Department. Any proposals for change in this regard will be announced in the normal way.