Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, investigation into the case of a person (details supplied); when the GSOC investigation will conclude; if she is aware of the allegation by the family of the person of serious failures of the Garda across numerous geographical divisions to enforce suspended sentences that, if enacted, would have meant that the perpetrator was in custody at the time the person was killed. [21967/16]
112. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the decision by An Garda Síochána to release a person (details supplied) on bail in view of circumstances; and her further views on whether this case and others of a similar nature merits the establishment of a commission of investigation. [21968/16]
144. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she has given consideration to a request to establish an inquiry into the death of a person (details supplied); the timeframe for her Department to make such a decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22904/16]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 111, 112 and 144 together.
The circumstances surrounding the death of the young man referred to in the Deputies' questions are truly tragic. His family deserve every sympathy for their terrible loss.
The first thing I should say is that an investigation by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is ongoing. That investigation was initiated following complaints made by the family of the young man. Subsequently, a previous Minister for Justice and Equality, considering that it was desirable in the public interest to do so, referred the matter to GSOC under Section 102 (5) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. I understand that the investigation is still on-going. As the Deputies are aware GSOC is an independent statutory body and it is entirely a matter for that body how it conducts its investigation.
I should also mention that a civil action has been initiated by the mother of the young man against the State in respect of various matters surrounding his tragic death. The existence of those proceedings imposes clear constraints on me and the Government regarding this case.
In the circumstances I hope that the House will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment or act in any way that might interfere, or might be construed as interfering, with a GSOC investigation or with a legal action that has been initiated.
For the sake of completeness, however, I can inform to the House that this particular case was amongst those considered under the Independent Review Mechanism. This was the process established for the independent review of certain allegations of Garda misconduct, or inadequacies in the investigation of certain allegations, which had been made to me as Minister for Justice and Equality, or the Taoiseach, or other public representatives. A panel consisting of two Senior and five Junior Counsel was established for the purpose, all selected on the basis of their experience of the criminal justice system. I would like to emphasise that every case under the Independent Review Mechanism was reviewed by independent counsel, who made an objective recommendation. It was open to counsel to make any recommendation that they saw fit, including, if they considered it appropriate, some form of independent inquiry.
Following their review of this case counsel made a recommendation to me, as Minister, on the outcome of that review. The recommendation made by counsel was that I should take no further action in this case. The recommendation and the reasons for it were communicated to the complainant last December.