Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Justice and Equality

Departmental Inquiries

Matt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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443. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the scoping inquiry relating to the death of a person (details supplied); when the process will be concluded; his plans to establish a public inquiry into the circumstances of the incidents leading to the person's death and the subsequent response of all statutory agencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6099/20]

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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As the Deputy will be aware, a retired judge of the District Court, Judge Gerard Haughton, is conducting a scoping exercise into the tragic death of Shane O'Farrell, whose case has been discussed in Dáil Éireann on a number of occasions.  The judge furnished an interim report to me on 13 November last.  Following consultation with the family concerned, Judge Haughton and the Attorney General, I published the report on 17 December 2019.

The Terms of Reference for the scoping exercise were drafted with the benefit of legal advice from the Attorney General and with due consideration to the jurisprudence of the Courts, in particular the decision of the Supreme Court in Shatter v Guerin.

In his interim report, Judge Haughton states that he will not restrict or limit the family in their submissions to him or the nature and extent of the documentation they wish to furnish to him in his scoping exercise.

I have welcomed the fact that the family are working with Judge Haughton.  My Department is in regular contact with the judge and has assured him of any assistance he requires to complete his final report. 

Judge Haughton has recently informed my Department and the family concerned of the reasons why he does not believe that he can finalise matters within the timescale referred to in his Interim Report.  He has indicated that he believes it will be the end of September before he will be in a position to conclude the scoping exercise.

Judge Haughton is free in his final report to make any recommendation he sees fit, including the establishment of any form of statutory or non-statutory inquiry.  I will await the recommendation of Judge Haughton in his final report before making any decision in relation to further inquiries into this matter.

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