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Family members of the late Pat Nugent have described their search for answers into his 1984 death as “never-ending” and “cruel”.

An inquiry into how Gardaí investigated the death of Pat Nugent in Bunratty 37 years ago was completed by former judge Patrick Clyne and issued to the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee (FG) in November of last year.

Despite Minister McEntee issuing commitments that the report would be published fairly soon after, the Nugent family have yet to receive the report.

A complaint into the handing of the investigation was lodged by the Nugent family in 2014, a year later an inquiry was granted, it began in 2017 with the report issued to Minister McEntee in November 2020.

In October of 1985, a jury at the inquest into Pat’s death said it was satisfied that he had been struck by persons or persons unknown, causing him to fall to the ground and that car no 643 KIE (owned by William Ryan, a well known chef from Shannon) accidentally hit him, causing internal injuries from which he died.

The incident had come in the early hours of the morning, at a party to celebrate the 40th wedding anniversary of Ryan.

While Pat died after being struck by the vehicle, what has not become apparent even now is how the 23-year-old hotel manager, who had been in charge of running the celebration, came to be lying on the ground and who he had been referring to in his dying words which were “he clocked me, he clocked me, he clocked me”.

With Minister McEntee on maternity leave, Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys (FG) has been acting as Minister for Justice since April.

Speaking to The Clare Echo during her visit to the county last week, Minister Humphreys said the Attorney General had been asked to review the report. “Obviously this has been very difficult for the Nugent family. I have the report, I’ve asked the AG to look at the report and when I hear back from the AG, I hope to be able to share that with the family as soon as possible”.

Following a parliamentary question by Michael McNamara TD (IND) in May, the Department of Justice also stated that the advice of the Attorney General was to be received before the report could be published.

When asked what was the delay in securing the advice of the Attorney General, Minister Humphreys replied, “The Attorney General in fairness to him, there has been a lot of work there and when you think of all the regulations that have had to be signed because of COVID-19 and different things. I hope to be in a position to come forward with that very shortly”.

She expected that it would be before November when the Nugent family would have contents of the report issued to them.

Members of the Nugent family have expressed their frustration at the failure to provide them with accurate timeframes on when the report will be published or sent to them. “The report has been with the minister and the department for 9 months now. Minister McEntee assured us through a PQ raised by Deputy Michael McNamara that the report will be published. We have been patient, however we are at pains to see why we have not received the report yet. Minister Humphreys stating that we will have the report soon is of little comfort to the family at this stage. Again, no actual time frame has been given, so this could mean anything from weeks to months,” one family member told The Clare Echo. “It seems neverending. It’s cruel,” they added.

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