Ceisteanna—Questions. Written Answers. - Extradition Warrants.

Gay Mitchell

Question:

137 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice, arising from her reply to Parliamentary Question No. 31 of 25 October 1994, the number of extradition warrants which have been submitted by the Gardaí to the Attorney General under the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987, for each of the years 1988 to 1994; and the number of warrants which have been issued each year. [3283/94]

The reports on the operation of Part III of the Extradition Act, 1965 in the years 1988 to 1992 which are made to the Houses of the Oireachtas by the Government pursuant to section 6 of the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987 contain the relevant readily available information sought in the Deputy's question.

With regard to the precise information sought by the Deputy, records are not compiled in such a manner as to enable the question to be answered readily assuming that the reference to warrants issued is intended to mean warrants endorsed in accordance with the provisions of Part III of the 1965 Act. However, the information is being gathered and will be communicated to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Gay Mitchell

Question:

138 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice if any communication was received by her from either the RUC, the Northern Ireland Office, the British Attorney General's Office or any other source regarding the extradition warrant for a person (details supplied). [3284/94]

Gay Mitchell

Question:

142 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice if any communication was made by the Garda Síochána to the authorities of Kilnacrott Abbey regarding the extradition warrant from the RUC. [3499/94]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 138 and 142 together.

The only communications received in my Department in relation to the case in question were from the Garda authorities in accordance with the normal procedures which apply to such matters. There were two such communications from the Garda authorities as follows.
First, when warrants in the case were forwarded to the Attorney General's Office on 30 April 1993, a copy was sent to my Department and to the Chief State Solicitor's Office. Second, on 24 January 1994 the Garda authorities forwarded to my Department a copy of a facsimile message received that day from the RUC which requested the return of the warrants as the person concerned had returned to the jurisdiction in which he was sought. The Garda authorities indicated that they proposed, subject to the approval of the Attorney General, to hand over the warrants to the RUC on 25 January 1994.
One further communication — which was not brought to the attention of my Department — was received by the Garda authorities. This was correspondence from the RUC on 2 December 1993 requesting an up-date on the position in relation to Fr. Smyth. This, however, was forwarded to the Chief State Solicitor for his attention.
I should, for the purpose of clarifying the role of my Department in the matter, add that the information contained in the warrants forwarded to my Department stated the name of the person sought (but without any reference to his being a priest), gave a previous Northern Ireland address only, and signified the offence by a reference to named persons (without giving their ages) and relevant provisions of the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861 (incident assault against a male and, in one case, a female).
The requirement when extradition warrants are first received — and this applies in all cases — is for a determination by the Attorney General in respect of the functions imposed on him under the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987 and in relation to advising on whether the request meets the requirements of our law. No decision or action is required by the Minister for Justice or the Department of Justice in advance of the Attorney General's determination. Likewise no action is required of the Garda Commissioner in advance of the Attorney General's determination and any subsequent decision by me in accordance with section 44 of the Extradition Act, 1965.
The procedure in all extradition cases, which was followed in this case, is to allow the legal issues which the Attorney General is required by law to consider to be dealt with in accordance with established arrangements — which include provision of such additional information as is necessary — for that purpose and in the manner judged best by the Attorney General's office.
No pressure would be brought to bear by the Department of Justice, and it would be improper for it to do so, unless it became specifically aware of some special circumstances — as, for example, a pending release from prison or the imminent departure of the persons concerned from the jurisdiction — or pressure from the authorities requesting extradition. No such signal was received in this case by my Department.
With regard to the question as to whether there was any communication made by the Garda Síochána to the authorities of Kilnacrott Abbey, I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Garda have no record of contact having been made with the authorities at the Abbey regarding warrants in their possession in respect of the individual in question.