Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he plans to begin the process of a commission of investigation to examine the handling of the investigation of a person details supplied). [8319/18]
253. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the establishment a commission of inquiry into the allegations against a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8747/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 and 253 together.
The Government is committed to establishing the facts in this case and accordingly decided in May 2017 to establish a Commission of Investigation. The advice of the then Attorney General was that there would be severe delays if the Commission were to be established at that time while legal matters were outstanding, including ongoing investigations into further offences, and a concern that evidence, adduced at a Commission or required to be disclosed to potential witnesses under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 may impact upon future prosecutions. This decision was communicated directly to the lawyers for victims involved at the time.
I am advised that the criminal investigations have resulted in the Director of Public Prosecutions bringing 99 further charges against Bill Kenneally. The DPP, of course, operates independently of Government.
I am anxious to establish the Commission and in this regard I have had discussions with the Attorney General while my officials are working intensively with their counterparts in the AG’s office to find a clear, workable solution which will allow for the formal establishment of a Commission of Investigation in a way which does not impact upon any current or future criminal prosecutions.
This is a high priority for me and I am acutely aware of the pain and suffering that has been endured by the victims. Once a clear, workable, legally sound path to the establishment of the Commission is agreed with the Attorney General’s Office, I will meet with the victims at the earliest possible opportunity to brief them on the new proposals.