90. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to open a commission of investigation into matters surrounding a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that a number of their victims have made claims alleging that several State agencies failed in their duty of care to them; and if he will meet with these persons in this regard. [2205/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I can inform the Deputy that when this Government decided, in May 2017, to announce the intention to establish the Commission, this was based on legal advice from the then Attorney General that indicated there would be severe delays if the Commission were to be established at that time. This decision was communicated directly to the lawyers for victims involved at the time.
The decision was made based on a number of outstanding legal matters, including ongoing investigations into further offences, and a concern that evidence, adduced at a Commission, may impact upon future prosecutions.
I am advised that criminal investigations are ongoing in respect of a number of such cases and files have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to several cases and directions are awaited. The DPP, of course, operates independently of Government
However, I have had a preliminary discussion with the Attorney General last week regarding this matter and have arranged to work with officials from the Attorney General’s Office to try to identify a methodology to allow for the early establishment of the Commission of Investigation, in such a way as not to prejudice the ongoing criminal investigations.
I am acutely aware of the pain and suffering that has been endured by the victims. Once a clear, workable, legally sound path to the establishment of the Commission is agreed with the Attorney General’s Office, I will meet with the victims, and their legal representative, at the earliest possible opportunity to brief them on the new proposals and to hear their thoughts.