MEMBERS of a Sixmilebridge family have been invited to a meeting with the Department of Justice to “explain the next steps” of a state inquiry regarding the death of Patrick Nugent in 1984.
The state inquiry led by Judge Patrick Clyne is a report into the Garda investigation of the death of the then 23-year-old banqueting manager in Bunratty.
The Nugent family will be accompanied by their solicitor, Kevin Winters of KRM Law LLP, when they meet the Assistant Secretary General of the Department of Justice to discuss Judge Clyne’s report.
Having received the advice of the Attorney General, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys told Deputy Michael McNamara in the Dáil on Tuesday the Department of Justice had invited the Nugent family to a meeting to “explain the next steps in relation to Judge Clyne’s final report”.
“This meeting is due to take place in person next week. I do appreciate Mr Nugent’s family are most anxious to receive the outcome of Judge Clyne’s investigation,” she stated.
While the Nugent family has welcomed the opportunity to meet a senior Department of Justice official, a spokeswoman expressed disappointment that they will not be meeting Justice Minister Heather Humphreys.
Their disappointment is acutely felt in view of the seriousness of the Patrick Nugent case, and the inordinate length of time this state inquiry has taken.
The Nugent family has pointed out that no government minister has ever travelled to meet any of them to hear a first-hand account of their fight for justice.
A spokeswoman for the Nugent family recalled two families, who were part of other Section 42 inquiries, had the judge’s final report sent to their solicitor without any meeting or discussion.
She wondered why a different approach is being taken by the Department of Justice concerning the Nugent case.
She hoped that any recommendations in the report are acted on speedily and don’t take as long as the inquiry.
“We don’t know what to expect out of the meeting because we haven’t seen the report. Justice Minister Helen McEntee gave an assurance in the Dáil the report would be published.
“Even though a meeting has been arranged to discuss the next step, we believe the next step is to get a copy of the report.
“I think we deserve to meet Minister Humphreys directly, or at least we deserve an explanation why she isn’t available to meet us face-to-face,” she said.
Deputy Michael McNamara has tabled Dáil questions asking the new Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys, when she will share the report of the inquiry into the adequacy of the An Garda Síochána investigations and disciplinary inquiries following the death of Mr Nugent with the family, and if this report will be published.
The Independent Deputy raised this issue again in the Dail on Tuesday where he recalled that Patrick Nugent died in Bunratty in 1984 following injuries he sustained.
“The following year at his inquest the jury stated they are far from satisfied about the circumstances under which Patrick Nugent sustained the injuries, which caused his death, and call on the Minister for Justice to investigate the matter further.
“It took until 2017 for an inquiry to be established under Judge Clyne. He reported on October 31 last year to the Department of Justice.
“Since then I have asked the Department of Justice numerous times what is happening, and I was told it is being reviewed by the Attorney General.
“He is reputed to be a very hard-working Attorney General, so what is the delay because this family has waited long enough for a report into what happened their son, their brother in 1984.”
by Dan Danaher