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Question

34. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of progress of the five section 42 inquiries established in response to the independent review mechanism; the cost of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4426/19]

Answer

Deputy Charles Flanagan: I thank the Deputy for the question. While the inquiries were formally established on 15 May 2017, in practice, it took some time to get them equipped to be fully operational. A retired judge was appointed to conduct each of these inquiries and the orders establishing the inquiries prescribe that on conclusion of each one, a report will be submitted to me.
Two of these inquiries have concluded and reports have been furnished to me. Both involved tragic fatalities and the families have each been seeking answers for what they believe were failures by the authorities regarding the circumstances. I reiterate my condolences to those families on their losses.
In each case, I sought the advice of the Attorney General about publication of the reports. I was advised that any breach of individual privacy rights or adverse comments about any party should be avoided where possible. I, therefore, arranged for anonymised versions of the reports to be provided to the families and published on the Department's website. This was done before Christmas.
The central findings of the reports were clear. Each report identifies issues that require a response from An Garda Síochána in order that the families can have as complete a picture as possible of the circumstances of the death of their loved ones. Everybody will agree that this is the very least they deserve.
Upon receipt of the reports, therefore, I wrote to the Garda Commissioner regarding the issues raised in each of these reports. Where the judges identified failings by An Garda Síochána, I have asked the Commissioner to consider these and notify me of what actions he proposes to take in light of these findings. When I receive his reply, I will decide whether any further action is appropriate. I will, of course, be in further contact with the families in this regard.