Killing of Garda: Statement by Taoiseach .

: Earlier today Deputies FitzGerald and Cluskey raised a question in the House in relation to the killing of Garda Seamus Quaid and asked if I could clarify the situation. The position is that the charge preferred in the case has been withdrawn, for technical reasons, and struck out.

The person originally charged is at present in hospital. I am informed that on his release he will be charged with offences appropriate to the circumstances of the case. My understanding is that these will include capital murder.

: Did I hear the Taoiseach correctly? Did he say that on his release he will be charged? The Taoiseach informed the House earlier that on the basis of his information he had been charged.

: He had been charged and the charge has been struck out. At present he is not under arrest but, as soon as he is discharged from hospital, he will be arrested and charged.

: He is not in custody at present but he will be charged when he leaves the hospital?

: I am sorry about the slightly misleading information I gave to the House earlier today. I was speaking from a very quick——

: I am not quite clear on the reason why the charge has been withdrawn. I did not understand the Taoiseach's explanation.

: There are technical reasons and legal reasons which convinced the DPP that the charge should be withdrawn and that the person concerned should be charged again in the manner in which I have outlined.

: It appears a mistake was made in the first instance. One can only hope that the mistake, technical though it may be, will have no consequences on the successful prosecution of the charge it, in fact, the charge is justified.

: Nobody wants to prejudge this issue.

: My understanding is that the action which the DPP has taken is in the interests of a proper prosecution of the case.

: Is the House to understand from the Taoiseach's statement that this man was arrested and charged and was in police custody, and then the court released him from police custody and that, since this morning's court hearing, he is not in police custody and is totally free?

: My understanding is that the person who was charged is in hospital under police protection and that, on his release from hospital, it is intended to charge him under the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

: Will the Taoiseach not agree that it is a matter of very considerable concern to Members of this House and to the general public that there could be this type of error——

: Hear, hear.

: ——in a case of this nature, and that it possibly could have repercussions on any future court proceedings? What action does the Taoiseach propose to take regarding this mistake which has been made?

: I must remind the House that this matter is entirely one for the Director of Public Prosecutions who is a completely independent statutory person and in no way responsible to the Government or to this House. The matter is entirely one for him.

: I am glad that situation prevails, but that is only in respect of whether or not a prosecution should be taken and not in respect of a complete mess being made in a case as serious as this.

: I do no know what the Deputy is endeavouring to infer, but I want to make it clear to the House that this is a matter entirely for the Director of Public Prosecutions, and it is the Director of Public Prosecutions who has been handling it from the beginning.

: Does that mean that the making of the original charge in the form in which it was made, and at the time and place where it was made, was on the instructions of the Director of Public Prosecutions?

: I am not in a position to say that.

: Was the charge preferred by the police or by the Director of Public Prosecutions?

: My information is that the matter was handled by the Garda and the Director of Public Prosecutions. I cannot add any more than that. It was handled by the Garda and the Director of Public Prosecutions in the normal manner.

: The Minister for Justice has responsibility for the actions of the Garda.

: I want to assure the House that the Minister for Justice was not involved in this matter at any stage, or any Member of the Government. I do not think it is desirable that we should discuss this any further at this stage.

: It is very dangerous.

: Out of courtesy to the House I sought this information from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. I can understand the anxiety of the House and of members of the public to be fully informed about this situation. I want to suggest to Deputies that, because the matter is sub judice, we should not pursue it any further here. I want the House to accept my assurance that the matter was dealt with exclusively by the Garda authorities and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

: Could the Taoiseach explain to me how the matter is sub judice if no one has yet been charged.

: A person has been charged.

: And discharged.

: Would the Taoiseach clarify the situation? As I understand it, he has told the House——

: I am afraid I cannot allow any further discussion.

: Surely I am entitled to seek clarification. In a formal statement to the House the Taoiseach said the man was not in police custody, that he was under police protection. Then the Taoiseach claimed the matter is sub judice. Surely a matter cannot be sub judice unless someone is before the courts charged with a particular offence.

: I am afraid that is not my business. The Taoiseach made a statement and I should have allowed the Leaders of the parties only to make statements. Because of the particular circumstances, I allowed them to go further than I should normally have done. I would be pleased if the Deputy would allow the matter to rest.

: I am prepared to obey your ruling and I am quite prepared now to make the statement which you think I should make. Can I make that statement?

: I think I have been more than fair to the Deputies concerned. They had the opportunity, and they asked quite a number of questions. I would ask the Deputy to accept the ruling of the Chair.

: It is a very unsatisfactory situation.