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Minister for Justice receives inquiry into investigation of Clare man’s death 36 years ago

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A Clare family are anxiously waiting for an update from the Department of Justice surrounding the death of a 23 year old man in 1986.

An inquiry into the investigation of the death of Pat Nugent in Bunratty 36 years ago was completed at the end of October and subsequently presented to the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee (FG).

For more than three decades, the Nugent family have been seeking answers into Patrick’s death, subsequent manslaughter trial and inquest.

Former judge Patrick Clyne was tasked with carrying out a Section 42 inquiry into the Garda handling of the case.

Mr Nugent was working as a banqueting manager at Bunratty Castle, when he was found dead in the Folk Park near the popular tourist attraction on 11th February 1986. Allegations that his death was not properly investigated were considered by an independent review mechanism in 2014, which recommended that the case be examined under the Section 42 provisions of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

Minister McEntee gave an “absolute commitment” that the final report would be received within two weeks. On Wednesday last when questioned by Clare TD, Michael McNamara (IND), she confirmed the inquiry was completed at the end of October with Judge Clyne’s report received on November 3rd. “I am currently considering the report and will be seeking the advice of the Attorney General on its contents. I have written to the Nugent family to inform them of this progress,” she stated.

Publishing of the report in full is “in the public interest,” the Sixmilebrige family believed. They are hopeful the circumstances into Patrick’s death will be investigated.

“From the family’s point of view, it’s an inquiry into the Garda investigation and it’s not looking into the circumstances surrounding Pat’s death. We’re hoping that there will be a recommendation for a further investigation or inquiry into the actual circumstances of Pat’s death,” a spokesperson for the Nugent family stated. “We have a right to know and that’s what the family have wanted all these years”.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told The Clare Echo, “Judge Clyne completed his inquiry on 31 October 2020. The Department of Justice received this report on 3 November 2020. The report is currently being considered by the Minister who will be seeking the advice of the Attorney General on its contents and on the issue of publication. The Minister’s officials have informed the Nugent family of this progress and will continue to keep in further contact in this regard”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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