116. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Justice if she will examine calls for an independent public inquiry into the death of a person (details supplied); if she will examine legal opinions on the way this may operate in parallel with any Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, investigation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30219/21]
Deputy Heather Humphreys: I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. First, I extend my deepest sympathies to all those impacted by the tragic events in Hartstown last December, and in particular to the family of George Nkencho. As is the case in every incident involving the Garda that results in the death of a person, the shooting is being fully and independently investigated by GSOC, which is chaired by a High Court judge, Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring. GSOC has confirmed that it has begun a criminal investigation under section 98 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. It is open to GSOC to make wider systemic recommendations on issues it investigates and it is free to do so in this instance. As GSOC is statutorily independent in its operation and administration, it would not be appropriate for me as Minister to comment on or interfere in what is an ongoing independent investigation with full powers. However, I am confident that GSOC is treating this matter with the utmost priority and with the gravity it deserves. It is important for the family and all those involved in this tragedy that the investigation is done thoroughly, but as speedily as possible in the circumstances. As the Deputy will be aware, the then Minister for Justice, Deputy McEntee, met with the Nkencho family in April to hear from them directly. She assured them of GSOC's independence and that it is the most appropriate body to complete a full and impartial investigation into all of the circumstances relating to the death of Mr. Nkencho. I hope the Deputy will appreciate that I cannot discuss this matter in detail, given the ongoing investigation.