Family told report into investigation of Clare man’s 1984 death will be released

Relatives of Patrick Nugent have ‘positive’ meeting with Justice officials about report

The family of a banqueting manager who died in suspicious circumstances in 1984 said they have received “a very firm commitment” that a report into his death would be released.

Relatives of Patrick Nugent, the 23-year-old Co Clare man who died after a 40th wedding anniversary party in the early hours of February 11th, 1984, met Department of Justice officials on Friday about a Government inquiry report into the investigation of his death.

Mr Nugent worked at Bunratty Folk Park at the time.

It is a year since retired District Court judge Patrick Clyne completed his inquiry into the Garda investigation and internal disciplinary inquiries that took place after the death and his family were awaiting details about what would happen next with the retired judge's report.


Judge Clyne began his investigation in 2017.

The family said that they were pleased to receive the commitment by the Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys to release the 111-page report arising from the inquiry.

Family member Deirdre Nugent said: "It's been terribly frustrating to have to wait this length of time for justice. However, we feel we are about to turn the corner now with news of the release of the report after 37 years since Patrick's death."

Kevin Winters of Belfast law practice KRW Law said that the meeting with the department officials was "a welcome and positive meeting".

“The family have had to wait a year to get news about the findings arising from the Section 42 inquiry,” he said.

“Thankfully, we now have a timescale for the release of the report but I have to stress that at this stage everything remains confidential until further engagement with the Minister’s office and due process is complete.”

Mr Nugent, of Feenagh, Sixmilebridge, suffered fatal injuries at the end of the party. He was found slumped on the ground in the reception area of the folk park.

A Garda investigation, several internal disciplinary inquiries and a coroner’s inquest all failed to clarify the circumstances surrounding his death.

The jury at the 1985 inquest reached a verdict of “accidental death” in the case but said they were “far from satisfied” about the circumstances in which Mr Nugent was fatally injured and called on the minister for justice to investigate the matter further.

It took another 32 years before a minister for justice launched an investigation.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent