Greenvale public inquiry ‘not appropriate’ while prosecutions pursued, says Long

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A public inquiry into the deaths of three teenagers at the Greenvale Hotel in Co Tyrone would not be appropriate while prosecutions are being pursued, Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister has said.

However, Naomi Long said if the context changes, that decision can be looked at again.

Connor Currie, 16, and 17-year-olds Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard lost their lives in a fatal crush as hundreds queued at the doors of the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown for a disco on March 17 2019.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announced on Thursday that two men and a company were to be charged over the deaths.

Ms Long said it would not be appropriate for her to comment on the decisions of the PPS, which is independent of her office.

“My thoughts are very much with the families in terms of Greenvale today, irrespective of what decision the PPS had made, this would be a very painful and difficult day,” she said

Asked about whether a public inquiry would be heard into the incident, Ms Long said that will be a decision for the full Stormont executive.

“The difficulty, of course, is that it would not necessarily be for the Department of Justice to lead on any public inquiry, it would be cross-cutting in nature because you would have a whole mix of departments who would be involved, including the Department for Communities, and indeed health, in terms of response,” she said.

“So, for all of those reasons we would not be able to make a decision, although I did write to all Executive ministers at the time about the conclusion I had reached in light of the ongoing cases, but we would not be able to reach a decision without an executive available to do so.”