Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Street and House to House Collections.


asked the Minister for Justice if he will state the controls governing street and house to house collections; and if he is satisfied that the public have been made fully aware of their provisions.

As the controls are in fact embodied in the law itself, namely, the Street and House to House Collections Act, 1962, and the Street and House to House (Prescribed Forms) Regulations, 1962, copies of which are readily available to members of the public, I do not see what more I can do to increase public awareness of the existence of the controls short of undertaking an extensive advertising campaign. I do not consider such a campaign to be necessary.

Surely the Minister is aware that illegal collections for illegal organisations are being held throughout the length and breadth of this country and nothing is being done about them? Does the Minister not agree that we do not have sufficient gardaí at present to maintain law and order and to see that those collections are not held?

Something in the region of 250 prosecutions have been instituted in the past couple of months. It would not be possible to get the precise figure because prosecutions have been issued in every Garda division in the country and approximately 250 prosecutions have been taken in respect of illegal collections. The figure is rising because the figure of 250 was given to me some weeks ago and a number of further prosecutions have been issued since.

Is the Minister aware there is no legislation which forbids house to house collections? In reply to a question last year the Minister was corrected by Deputy Haughey and confirmed the point in a letter to me afterwards that there is no legislation to prevent anybody from doing door to door——

The question deals with control.

Yes, that is what I am dealing with. There are no controls regarding house to house collections. The Minister may be unaware that he is misleading the House by stating that there are.

There are extensive controls. An order has not been made under section 2 of the Act. I made inquiries from the Garda some time ago as to the desirability or otherwise of making an order under section 2 and at that time the Garda were of the opinion that it was not necessary to make such an order. However, in the light of certain recent developments I asked the Garda about two or three weeks ago for their opinion as to whether or not an order should now be made. I have not heard from them as yet but if they are of the opinion that it would be beneficial to make an order under section 2 I shall make it as soon as I hear from them.

There are no controls at the moment on door to door collections.

Only door to door collections; all other forms are fully controlled.

Following the granting of a licence, if some disquiet develops in relation to the abuse of such a licence by an allegedly charitable organisation are there any means whereby the Minister might have some system of supervision or spot check carried out on the activities of such organisations other than the understandable rejection of the renewal of such a licence where the garda superintendent might object in court? In a case in Waterford recently, of which the Minister is aware, it became apparent that the purpose of the collection, an allegedly charitable collection, was open to very considerable question by the garda superintendent and the licence was rightly refused by him and by the district justice.

That particular organisation's activities have been known to the Garda for quite some time. They have not had a permit for a number of years. I do not have the appropriate section with me but I imagine if a chief superintendent issues a permit and discovers during the currency of the permit that the organisation is notbona fide he has power to revoke it but I shall have to check that in the section.