Dáil Éireann - Volume 658 - 01 July, 2008

Written Answers. - Northern Ireland Issues.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will allow the McAnespie family access to the report of Deputy Commissioner Eugene Crowley into the shooting dead of Aidan McAnespie by the British Army in February 1998 in view of the findings of the Historical Enquiry Team in the Six Counties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25482/08]

  Deputy Dermot Ahern: Following the shooting of Aiden McAnespie the Government requested an inquiry be carried out into the fatal shooting and the circumstances surrounding it. The then Deputy Garda Commissioner Eugene Crowley was appointed to carry out the inquiry.

The inquiry was conducted on the basis that statements made by witnesses who came forward would be treated as confidential and their identities would not be revealed. For that reason the report, which was submitted to the then Minister for Justice in 1989, was not made available to any other party.

However, having regard to the wishes of the McAnespie family, in 2002 the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform released to the family a fair and accurate summary of the Crowley report. It was not considered realistic to release the report in any other form, either edited or with redactions, as the degree of editing that would be necessary to anonymise the report would be such as to be impracticable, particularly as it would require much more [313] than the mere omission of names to prevent a breach of the commitment given not to reveal the identity of witnesses.

Furthermore the final report on the post-mortem conducted by Dr. Harbison, State Pathologist at the time, was also made available to the family.

It remains the position that the report cannot be released as to do so would breach the assurances of confidentiality given at the time.