asked the Minister for Justice the number of persons in his Department engaged in the compilation of the booklet The Criminal Justice Bill and Some of the Critics; their ranks and salary; the cost of printing and publishing the booklet; the number of copies printed; and to whom it was distributed.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Department of Justice Booklet.
The booklet in question was compiled under my directions for the purpose of effectively refuting misstatements of fact which were published in pamphlets by the groups styling themselves as the Irish Association of Civil Liberty and the Citizens for Civil Liberties. I take full responsibility.
It would be contrary to established practice and it would not be in the public interest to allow individual civil servants who carry out the directions given to them to be identified and, thereby, intimidated in the discharge of their duties, as is clearly the purpose of this question.
Copies of the booklet were distributed to Members of both Houses of the Oireachtas, to the newspapers and to various organisations and persons who had shown an interest in the Bill or who asked for copies. The number of copies so far is 1,500 at a cost of £116 but the demand has been such that it may be necessary to print more. As the type-set is retained, additional copies can be run-off at a nominal charge.
Can the Minister state if the contents of this booklet anticipate his own attitude to amendments tabled to this Bill on the later Stages?
I have answered the Deputy's question. What is in this booklet is a statement of the facts about the Bill. Any statement in the booklet can be discussed by Deputies when the Committee Stage is before the House. I expect that to be next week.
Is the Minister aware that the contents of this booklet appear to limit severely the kind of amendments he would be willing to accept on the later Stages of the Bill?
This booklet does not limit anything. It refutes the falsehoods disseminated in another pamphlet. That is all the booklet does.
The Minister is aware the contents of the Bill have been opposed by every section in the country, even the GAA.
And I know the character who drafted this question for the Deputy.