12. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will consider a new inquiry into the Stardust tragedy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6968/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will be aware, following a long campaign on the part of the victims, Mr. Paul Coffey SC was appointed in 2008 by the then Government, with the agreement of the Victims Committee, to review the case made by the Committee for a new inquiry into the fire. His report was published in January 2009. He concluded that the original Tribunal finding of arson was a hypothetical one only and that no-one present on the night can be held responsible. He further concluded that in the absence of any identified evidence as to the cause of the fire, the most another inquiry could achieve would be another set of hypothetical findings, which would not be in the public interest. The then Government accepted Mr. Coffey's findings and motions were passed in both Houses of the Oireachtas endorsing his conclusions and expressing sympathy with the families.
I accept, of course, that some of the victims and their relatives of this dreadful tragedy do not accept the conclusions of the Independent Examination, during which persons were free to make their case to Mr. Coffey. Indeed the concerns of the Stardust Committee in this regard were outlined to me when I met with representatives of the Committee last July. This meeting provided an opportunity for me to hear their concerns at first hand. At that meeting they set out, in some detail, their concerns in relation to the Inquiries into this matter that have been undertaken previously and some related financial issues that have arisen.
Since that meeting my Department has engaged in extensive communications with representatives of the Committee in relation to matters raised by them and these communications are ongoing.
I remain open to considering any material that the Committee or their representatives wish me to consider in this regard and my Department has, in its communications, made that clear. In saying this I should caution against raising unrealistic expectations about what can be achieved or appearing to suggest that the outcome of the Coffey examination can be set aside, simply on the basis that his conclusions are not accepted by some.
I wish also to inform the Deputy that allegations raised by the Stardust Relatives' and Victims Committee and their representatives in relation to certain matters are the subject of an ongoing investigation by An Garda Síochána. I am informed, by the Garda Commissioner, that this is a complex investigation and, you will understand, I cannot do anything that might cut across this investigation.