324. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Number 598 of 3 November 2015 her views on correspondence in relation to same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42633/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Deputy is referring to a Parliamentary Question asked in relation to a person whose complaint has been considered by the Independent Review Mechanism.
I have explained on numerous occasions that the process of the Independent Review was not a Commission of Inquiry or Investigation designed to make findings. The purpose of the review was to triage the complaints to establish whether there was any action which I could take to further resolution of that complaint.
Recommendations by counsel were based on a review of the papers, and did not involve interviews or interaction with complainants or any other form of investigation, although counsel could where necessary recommend that I seek further information from persons or bodies. The Panel was independent and therefore no restriction was placed on the nature of recommendations which they might make.
The position with regard to the conflict of interest highlighted in the attached correspondence has been explained to the person from whom the Deputy has received this correspondence, to their solicitor and to this House in reply to a number of Parliamentary Questions raising the matter. To reiterate, arrangements were put in place to ensure that if there is any conflict, or potential conflict, the conflicted counsel not only will not be involved in the particular complaint, but also will not be aware of which counsel was reviewing it.
As regards the reference in the correspondence to the complaint against the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, my position in this regard is as stated in the Parliamentary Question to which the Deputy refers, the DPP is independent and I, as Minister, have no legal role in relation to its function.
The Panel has provided recommendations to me in all 320 cases submitted to them and has therefore largely concluded its work. The issuing of notification letters to complainants commenced on 29 June. To date, 298 complainants have been notified of the outcome of the review of their cases. Letters will continue to issue to all complainants, including the case referred to by the Deputy, until the process is completed.