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Question

354. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in relation to the investigation into the death of a person (details supplied), the reason the person's family are not being given access to the video footage that was hidden from them for 13 and a half years, along with other evidence that is stored in the Garda station in Portlaoise in County Laois, given that they are in a unique situation to know what to look for in the footage. [25780/15]

355. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason recent evidence of a statement given to An Garda Síochána in Clara in County Offaly in the first week of a person's (details supplied) disappearance, which clearly says that the person was assaulted and hit on the head by the door of a car, was not disclosed over the past 13 years and was not forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions. [25781/15]

356. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason gardaí from Tullamore and Clara in County Offaly or Abbeyleix in County Laois brought vital evidence in relation to the investigation into the death of a person (details supplied) to Portlaoise Garda Station, County Laois, and failed to reveal it to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Garda Commissioner and the Minister; and the steps being taken to investigate these matters. [25782/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 354 to 356, inclusive, together.
I have no role in the investigation, prosecution or trial of alleged offences. This is a long standing principle of our system of justice. The role of An Garda Síochána is to investigate alleged offences, to gather whatever evidence may be available and to submit a report to the DPP. I am, however, advised by the Garda Commissioner that a review of the video tapes referred to by the Deputy is underway to see if they were viewed as part of the original investigation, the subsequent review and their importance or relevance. The examination of any evidence in the context of a criminal investigation is an operational matter for the Garda Commissioner. I have no function in this regard. However, I understand that legal advice has been sought by the Garda Síochána in relation to permitting the family to view the tapes in a controlled environment.
The case is amongst those being considered under the mechanism established for the independent review of certain allegations of Garda misconduct, or inadequacies in the investigation of certain allegations, which have been made to me as Minister for Justice and Equality, or the Taoiseach, or other public representatives with a view to determining to what extent and in what manner further action may be required in each case. A panel consisting of two Senior and five Junior Counsel, all selected on the basis of their experience of the criminal justice system, was established for the purpose. I have already indicated that I have decided to appoint a former judicial figure to advise on the preparation of notification letters to those whose cases were referred to the Panel in relation to the recommendations made by counsel. Retired High Court Judge Mr Justice Roderick Murphy has agreed to undertake this task. Following the review of the complaint by counsel in this particular case a recommendation will be made to my Department and the outcome will be notified to the person concerned as soon as possible.