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Family’s frustration at inquiry delay

A CLARE family has made its frustration known over the latest delay in the publication of a state inquiry into the Garda investigation of the death of Patrick Nugent in 1984.
Former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald appointed retired District Court judge Patrick Clyne to lead an inquiry under Section 42 into the Garda investigation and disciplinary inquiries that took place following the death of Mr Nugent (23) Feenagh, Sixmilebridge at the end of a 40th wedding anniversary party in the early hours of February 11th, 1984.
The death of Mr Nugent, Feenagh, Sixmilebridge, was one of the 320 cases examined by the Independent Review Mechanism set up by Minister Fitzgerald, following a complaint made by the family relating to alleged Garda misconduct in June 2014.
Judge Clyne completed his inquiry on October 31, 2020 and the Department of Justice received this report on November 3, 2020.
The family are concerned about repeated delays in publishing a report concerning the inquiry, which started in January 2017.
Deputy Michael McNamara has tabled Dáil questions asking the new Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys, when she will share the report of the inquiry and if this report will be published.
In response to his question, Minister Humphreys said the advice of the Attorney General on publication and related matters is being considered and stated she isn’t in a position to advise on timelines now.
Acknowledging the Nugent family are anxious to receive the outcome of the investigation, she pledged to get in contact with them as soon as possible.
A family spokeswoman confirmed neither the family nor their solicitor has received any direct communication from the department or Minister Humphreys. She said other families in a similar situation had received a report within six weeks, while they are still being left in the dark more than six months later.
She said the family is concerned that the new minister may be rowing back on a previous commitment by her predecessor to provide this report to the family.
In view of repeated delays, she said the family still doesn’t know whether it will receive this report before the Dáil takes a break for the summer recess or before the end of the year.

By Dan Danaher

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