To ask the Minister for Home Affairs, having regard to the statement before journalists last Saturday, the 20th inst., that claims granted by the courts for compensation for malicious damage to property were being scrutinised by a Committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. Creed Meredith, K.C., if he will state when this Committee was appointed, what are its terms of reference, and what are its relations to the Shaw Commission? Further, if the parties interested in such cases, or counsel acting for such parties, have been given and are being given, an opportunity of being present when they arise for consideration? Finally, if the right place for the giving of important information of this sort is not Dáil Eireann, and if the authority for the appointment of such a Committee, with such wide and undefined powers, should not first have been sought from this Dáil?
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - COMPENSATION CLAIMS.
No such statement as that alleged by the Deputy in the first part of his question was made by me before representatives of the Press on Saturday last, and consequently the subsidiary question arising on the assumption of that statement have no basis in fact.
I may inform the Deputy, however, that my attention has been drawn to an account of the interview which appeared in one particular newspaper, which was inaccurate in this as in many other respects. No representative of that paper was present at the interview, and I presume the Deputy got his information from that paper. In order to clear up any misapprehensions which the incorrect report in question may have created generally I desire to state that I referred in the statement to the question of the Dáil Courts and the position created by their abolition.
It has been found necessary to review the whole field covered by the Dáil Courts, and a Departmental Committee has been set up, under the chairmanship of Mr. Creed Meredith, K.C., for the purpose of inquiring and reporting to me as to what steps are necessary and what special provisions may be required to deal with the following matters:—
(1) The hearing of cases pending in these Courts at the date of their abolition.
(2) The hearing of pending appeals.
(3) The enforcement of decrees granted but not executed at the date of abolition.
(4) The review of certain cases, such as those where there was excess of jurisdiction, abuse of legal powers, obvious injustice, etc.
(5) The position of persons awaiting trial or wrongfully committed.