139. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has formally commenced the scoping exercise in relation to the death of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28613/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the matter of the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of the late Shane O'Farrell has been addressed by me on several occasions in both the Dáil and the Seanad.
Following the Dáil motion calling for an inquiry last year, I sought the advice of the Attorney General on how best to move forward while taking account of the fact that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, was still investigating certain matters. Since then, I have appointed retired District Court Judge Gerard Haughton to conduct a scoping exercise and to advise me in relation to the case.
Judge Haughton has met with the family to discuss the terms of reference and to seek their views. I subsequently received a proposal for some changes to the terms of reference for the scoping exercise and I sought advice from the Attorney General on the changes proposed by Judge Haughton. That advice has just been received and my Department is currently examining it with a view to finalising the terms of reference and formally commencing the scoping exercise.
Judge Haughton is required to provide me with an interim report within 8 weeks of the commencement of the scoping exercise. He is free to make any recommendation he sees fit, including the freedom to recommend the establishment of any of the various forms of statutory and non-statutory inquiry. Should he consider it necessary to recommend an inquiry, I have asked him to provide me with draft terms of reference.