Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice when the statutory inquiry into the death of a person (details supplied) will commence. [41717/21]
905. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Justice when the final report by person (details supplied) in respect to the circumstances surrounding the death of a person will be finalised; and if she plans to publish the report in full. [42284/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 888 and 905 together.
I wish to assure the Deputy that I recognise the ongoing pain of the O'Farrell family on the tragic death of Shane and deeply sympathise with them on their loss.
As the Deputy will be aware, a highly respected retired Judge, Gerard Haughton, has been conducting a scoping exercise into the tragic circumstances surrounding Shane O'Farrell's death.
The purpose of this exercise is to advise as to whether any further investigation or inquiry beyond those already carried out is necessary and if so to advise on the form of such investigation or inquiry and its terms of reference.
Judge Haughton furnished an interim report to the then Minister for Justice in November 2019. In his interim report, the Judge stated that he would not restrict or limit Shane's family in their submissions to him or the nature and extent of the documentation they wished to furnish to him in his scoping exercise.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Judge is completely independent in conducting this scoping exercise. It is not open to me as Minister to comment on any aspect of the Judge's work or the process of compiling the final report. My Department maintains regular contact with the Judge and has assured him that any assistance he requires to complete his final report will be made available.
While I genuinely regret that this process has taken significantly longer than any of us would like, I am also aware that the Judge is doing all that he can to ensure that the concerns which the family have raised with him during the process are followed through to the greatest extent possible. I understand that Judge Haughton has been in contact with the O’Farrell family throughout his scoping exercise.
Judge Haughton recently wrote to my Department seeking comments on one specific section of the draft report. The Department further understands that Judge Haughton has been in touch with the O'Farrell family regarding this matter. Following receipt of responses from all relevant parties, it is understood that Judge Haughton will be in a position to finalise his report. My Department will continue to provide all necessary assistance to the Judge, and I look forward to receiving his final report in due course.
Following receipt of the final report, the advice of the Attorney General will be sought on publication and any other issues arising.