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Other Questions. - Garda Investigations.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 11. Mr. Howlin Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  the progress made in the investigation into the death of a garda in an accidental shooting in Abbeyleix on 7 December 2001; if any new procedures are planned governing the use of firearms in these situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18495/02]

Mr. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell In relation to this matter, I express my sympathy and that of the Government on the death of Detective Sergeant Eiffe to his family and, particulary, his wife and children. This was a terrible tragedy for them and nothing I say should take away from that fact.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that an investigation, under the direction of an assistant commissioner, into all aspects of the incident in Abbeyleix has been carried out and that files in relation to it have been submitted, as is usual in such cases, to the law officers for direction. In the circumstances, it would be inappropriate to comment further on this aspect at this time. The Deputy will also be aware that arising from this incident three persons are currently on trial on charges of conspiracy to rob, which is further reason not to go into detail on the issue.

While a final review of Garda procedures in the light of this tragic incident must necessarily await the outcome of the law officers' consideration of the matter, I am advised by the Garda authorities that they keep their guidelines on the use of firearms under constant review. While I have no doubt that the Garda authorities will take fully into account any lessons which may be learned from this tragic incident, the unfortunate reality is that the use of firearms carries with it inherent dangers and the incident in question is a sad, tragic and poignant reminder of the dangers which members of the Garda Síochána face in tackling crime on our behalf.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I want to be associated with the Minister's expression of sympathy on this tragic event and note what he said.

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