Minister seeks Attorney General Advice on Shane O Farrell case – Smyth

GardaiFianna Fail TD for Cavan- Monaghan Niamh has been advised by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan that he is seeking the advice of the Attorney General in relation to the case of Shane O’Farrell.
“I have questioned Minister Flanagan on this matter. I appealed to him to set up a public inquiry into the death of Shane O’Farrell as per the vote in Dáil Eireann back in June 2018. The Minister has informed me that he will now seek the advice of the Attorney General on this matter”, said Deputy Smyth.
“Previously the Minister had stated that he could not interfere with the ongoing investigation. He has now decided to seek the advice of the Attorney General to see how best to proceed with this. I welcome today’s development.
“I also questioned the Minister on the length of time it is taking GSOC to investigate the remaining matters. I appreciate these investigations need to be comprehensive but this is prolonging the agony for the O’Farrell family. The Minister has pointed out to me that an additional 42 people have been employed in GSOC to help with the workload. I sincerely hope that this investigation is concluded as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I will await the update form the Minister regarding the Attorney Generals’ response.”

 

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For Written Answer on : 20/11/2018
Question Number(s): 312 Question Reference(s): 48326/18
Department: Justice and Equality
Asked by: Niamh Smyth T.D.
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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he has taken to set up a public inquiry into the death of a person (details supplied) as per the vote of Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) Shane O’Farrell
REPLY

As the Deputy is aware, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission conducted an investigation into certain matters related to the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Shane O’Farrell. This investigation arose out of a series of complaints to GSOC from members of the family of Shane O’Farrell. Certain aspects of the case were also referred to GSOC for investigation by a previous Minister.

The outcome of GSOC’s investigation was set out in a report earlier this year which was provided to the O’Farrell family. The investigation concluded that no criminal misbehaviour by members of An Garda Síochána was disclosed. However, a number of matters had been identified that warranted investigation in respect of potential breaches of discipline. The investigation of those matters by GSOC is still on-going. In the circumstances I do not propose to comment further while the investigation is proceeding.

The Deputy’s question refers to the motion passed by the House in June this year. As I have previously made clear to the House, it is imperative that the independence of the Ombudsman Commission is respected and that there is no improper interference with its investigations. I believe, therefore, that it is important that its investigation should be concluded before deciding on what further action may be necessary.

Nonetheless, I am writing to the Attorney General seeking his advice on how I can best give effect to the wishes of the House. When that advice is available I will be in a position to outline how I propose to proceed.
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For Written Answer on : 20/11/2018
Question Number(s): 313 Question Reference(s): 48327/18
Department: Justice and Equality
Asked by: Niamh Smyth T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the length of time GSOC has taken to investigate complaints surrounding the investigation into the death of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) Shane O’Farrell
REPLY

From the outset, I want to remind the Deputy that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is the independent statutory body which investigates complaints against members of the Gardaí. Its independence is the guarantee to members of the public and Gardaí that complaints will be investigated fairly and free from outside influence. I believe that GSOC does an excellent job in difficult circumstances and, as Minister for Justice and Equality, I will fully respect their independence and will not do or say anything which could be interpreted as infringing GSOC’s independence.

In the case referred to in the Deputy’s question, GSOC has already provided a report following a referral from a previous Minister and a number of complaints made by members of the family of the person who died so tragically as a result of a road traffic incident. The outcome was that the investigation did not find any criminal misbehaviour by members of the Garda Síochána. However, a number of matters were identified that warrant investigation in respect of potential breaches of discipline. That investigation is on-going.

I know that it can be frustrating that investigations are not completed as quickly as people would like. However, our overriding concern must be that investigations are comprehensive and conducted to the highest standards.

The Deputy will be glad to know that, following a request for additional staffing, GSOC has recently been granted sanction to recruit up to 42 additional staff. I am confident that when these extra staff are recruited and fully operational, the time taken for the completion of investigations will be reduced.

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