I thank the Deputy for his question on this sensitive and important issue. Regrettably, we have become all too aware of issues connected with familicide as a result of appalling and tragic events recently which have been discussed in the public domain. I would like, at the outset, to take this opportunity once again to express my sincere condolences to the Coll family on the tragic loss of Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan. I extend those condolences to other families who have been affected in such devastating circumstances.
As Deputy Collins will be aware, my Department is working with the Office of the Attorney General to finalise amendments to Deputy O'Callaghan's Private Members' Bill on the prevention of benefit from homicide. As the Deputy will appreciate, there are a number of complex legal issues to be addressed in the amendments which require thorough examination by experts in this field of law. I am also aware that the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality will engage in pre-legislative scrutiny on that Bill on 27 March. I look forward to receiving the committee's draft report, and any recommendations it may have, in due course.
As Deputy Collins has acknowledged, the provisions of Deputy O'Callaghan's Bill do not extend to the circumstances which have arisen in the murder of Clodagh Hawe and her family. As I have already announced, following my engagement with the Coll family, I am putting in place arrangements for a study to be conducted in relation to such cases. The study will be carried out to determine the most appropriate multi-agency protocols and supports, as well as any legislative or other changes that may assist in cases of familicide. The study will also examine the experience of domestic homicide reviews in other jurisdictions and make any recommendations that may be deemed appropriate. The terms of reference for the study will be finalised shortly. I hope to proceed with the appointment of the person to lead the study as soon as possible.
I have also asked officials in my Department to examine options in relation to the succession-related aspects in the context of amendments to Deputy O'Callaghan's Private Members' Bill in consultation with the Attorney General's office.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House.
This is a complex area of the law and I want to ensure that we avoid any unintended or unforeseen consequences. Nonetheless, if the matter can be addressed through an amendment to that Bill it is my intention to bring any necessary proposals to Government as a matter of priority.
As I mentioned, my Department is already engaged in consultations with the Attorney General's office on possible reform options. In this context, I would of course welcome any input from the joint committee as part of its pre-legislative scrutiny of Deputy O'Callaghan's Private Members Bill and I look forward to co-operation from colleagues across both Houses in progressing this matter.