Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the steps he has taken to set up a public inquiry into the death of a person (details supplied) as agreed to by a vote in Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1267/19]
466. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the length of time the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, has taken to investigate complaints regarding the investigation into the death of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1268/19]
472. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of a motion passed by Dáil Éireann relative to an inquiry into the death of a person (details supplied); if all matters leading to their death, the investigation afterwards and the court cases which ensued will be included as part of the inquiry; if the inquiry will be a public inquiry; his overall approach to the inquiry; and the timeframe for same. [1371/19]
489. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the request for a statutory inquiry made by the family of a person (details supplied) will be granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1654/19]
491. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in establishing a public inquiry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1780/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 465, 466, 472, 489 and 491 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, I have addressed the matters referred to in these questions over the recent weeks and months in some detail. While the status of the GSOC investigation remains unchanged I can offer Deputies some update into the investigation of issues related to this tragic case.
The outcome of GSOC’s criminal investigation was set out in an interim report issued last year, which was provided to the family of the late Shane O'Farrell. The investigation concluded that no criminal misbehaviour by members of An Garda Síochána was disclosed. GSOC’s investigation found that, while no such conduct occurred which would require criminal sanction, certain aspects were identified as requiring further investigation which may lead to disciplinary proceedings against one or more members. The investigation of those matters by GSOC is still on-going. In the circumstances I do not propose to comment further while the investigation is proceeding. I know that it can be frustrating that investigations are not completed as quickly as people would like. However, our overriding concern must be that investigations are comprehensive and conducted to the highest standards.
As Minister for Justice and Equality, I am acutely conscious of my responsibility - and that of all Members of the House – to respect the independence of the Ombudsman Commission and guard against improper interference with its investigations.
With regard to the motion passed by this House last June, it referred to the need to examine the actions of the Gardaí, the Director of Public Prosecutions, GSOC and the Courts. The terms of the motion largely reflect the calls by the family of the late Shane O'Farrell for a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the road traffic incident in which he tragically lost his life. I would remind the House of the constitutional independence of the Courts and the statutory independence of the Gardaí, the Director of Public Prosecutions and GSOC. These are important matters which must be taken into consideration if there is to be a further examination or investigation of issues related to this tragic case.
I have, as I said previously in the House, been considering the terms of the motion and what options might be available to me in response to it and, in this regard, I am engaging with the Attorney General to determine how I may proceed in relation to the terms of the motion.
I am awaiting the Attorney's advice and when I receive it I will be better placed to decide how to proceed.