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Question

296. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to commission an inquiry into the circumstances regarding the death of a person (details supplied) and potential involvement of the Church and State in a cover up; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20934/18]

300. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will initiate a commission of investigation arising from the claim that a member of the clergy encouraged a minor to destroy a document that would have been germane to the then inquest into the circumstances of a death further to an interview published in a newspaper (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21031/18]

301. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a file on the Garda investigation into the circumstances of person (details supplied) exists, either an original or the copy sent to the Coroner's inquest; if so, the statements that were collected by An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21032/18]

303. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to reports that the location and content of the Garda file relating to a person (details supplied) are unknown; the steps he is taking to locate the file; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21045/18]

304. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the files relating to the death of a person (details supplied) that are held by his Department; if he will publish them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21046/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 296, 300, 301, 303 and 304 together.
I am aware of the recent coverage about the death of the person in question and her infant baby in 1984. This was a particularly tragic case and one that still resonates with the Irish people after all this time.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that an inquest was held into the death of the person in question on 21 February 1984. The Coroner, in the independent performance of his duties, directed the jury to deliver a verdict of death consistent with the pathologist’s findings which, I understand, related to complications arising from childbirth.
As you may be aware, the Coroner's Act 1962 provides that a coroner is a statutory officer exercising quasi-judicial functions, in relation to which he or she is independent. The Minister for Justice and Equality has no role in the scheduling or conduct of an inquest, which is a matter for the relevant Coroner.
I am further advised by An Garda Síochána that an investigation into this matter took place and a file was prepared and forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), which issued a direction that there was to be no prosecution in the matter. As the Deputies will appreciate, the question of whether or not a particular person should be prosecuted, and for what criminal offence, is the sole responsibility of the DPP, who is independent in the performance of her functions.
In relation to the Garda investigation file on this case, I have been advised that the file in question is located at Granard Garda Station. I have asked my officials to check what papers are held on the matter in my own Department and I will communicate further with the Deputy in that regard.
The Deputies will appreciate that any decision to conduct further investigations into this matter is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister for Justice and Equality, have no role in an operational matter such as this. The question of the holding of a Commission of Investigation into the matter is not one that I am aware of having arisen and I have no plans in this regard.