Written answers

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Department of Justice and Equality

Garda Investigations

Photo of Marc MacSharryMarc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail)
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48. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of a Garda Síochána investigation (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9997/16]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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At the outset, I would like to say that I am very conscious of the ongoing trauma and distress for the families and friends of persons who go missing and, in relation to the case referred to by the Deputy, I can assure the House that I am fully aware of the various concerns which have been raised about it. I am also mindful of the sensitivity of the issues involved and, in this regard, I might add that I have previously met with the next of kin of the missing person, who is also the principal point of contact within the family for An Garda Síochána.

As I have outlined in responses to previous parliamentary questions in relation to this case, the disappearance of the person in question remains the subject of an ongoing Garda investigation. In these circumstances, I am sure that everyone in this House will understand that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on specific aspects of this case.

I am also conscious of the need to ensure that nothing we say would add to the distress which the family in this case has already experienced.

However, I can confirm to the Deputy that I have given very close attention to correspondence received in my Department which raised issues in relation to the Garda investigation and also the question of holding an inquest. In relation to the Garda investigation, I am advised that a Garda Review Team is endeavouring to advance the investigation and that all avenues of inquiry are being fully being pursued. I also understand that two complaints in relation to the case have been investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). I am advised that no misbehaviour on the part of members of An Garda Síochána was identified by GSOC and the complainant was notified of these findings.

In relation to the holding of an inquest, the Deputy may be aware that, under the Coroners Act 1962, as amended, a coroner is a statutory officer exercising quasi-judicial functions, in relation to which he or she is independent. A Coroner is responsible for the scheduling and conducting of inquests in his or her district and neither I nor my Department has any role in the conduct of an inquest in individual cases.

In conclusion, I can inform the Deputy that I have recently issued responses to the correspondence which I received about certain aspects of this case and I have asked my officials and the Garda authorities to keep me updated on further developments in this matter.


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