Written answers

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

Inquiry into the Death of Mr. Shane O'Farrell

Photo of Bríd SmithBríd Smith (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance)
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139. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the progress made to date in relation to the scoping inquiry into the killing of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30216/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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I would like to start by offering my own deepest sympathies to the parents and family of the late Shane O'Farrell. Shane's death was a dreadful tragedy and a huge loss for his family and for his community.

As the Deputy will be aware, a highly respected retired Judge, Gerard Haughton, has been conducting a scoping exercise into the tragic circumstances surrounding Shane O'Farrell's death.

The purpose of this exercise is to advise as to whether any further investigation or inquiry beyond those already carried out is necessary and if so to advise on the form of such investigation or inquiry and its terms of reference.

Judge Haughton furnished an interim report to the then Minister for Justice in November 2019. In his interim report, the Judge stated that he would not restrict or limit Shane's family in their submissions to him or the nature and extent of the documentation they wished to furnish to him in his scoping exercise.

I am awaiting the final report and I expect to receive this from the Judge shortly.

The Judge is naturally completely independent in his work, and I can neither intervene in nor seek to influence the outcome of the scoping exercise. My Department continues to provide all necessary assistance to the Judge to enable him to complete his work. The previous extensions to the timescale requested by the Judge have, as he has stated to the family, been necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Judge's desire to be as comprehensive as possible in conducting the scoping exercise.

While I genuinely regret that this process has taken significantly longer than any of us would like, I am also aware that the Judge is doing all that he can to ensure that the concerns which the family have raised with him during the process are followed through to the greatest extent possible. I understand that Judge Haughton has been in contact with the O’Farrell family throughout his scoping exercise.

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