I have no plans at present to establish a post of Deputy Attorney General. Deputies may recall that the report of the Select Committee on Legislation and Security published in February 1996 was referred to the Constitution Review Group for consideration by my predecessor, Deputy John Bruton. The review group, it will be recalled, had issued a provisional report on the Office of the Attorney General in January 1996 and it was in that context that the select committee report was referred to the review group. The then Taoiseach, in reply to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 1 and 2 on 27 February 1996, informed the House that it would be prudent to await consideration of the matter by the review group.
In the event the final report of the review group did not recommend the creation of a post of Deputy Attorney General. I acknowledge that it did recommend that the Constitution should expressly permit delegation of the Attorney General's functions to another senior lawyer with the approval of the Taoiseach. I look forward to receiving the views of the Oireachtas All-Party Committee on the Constitution on this in due course.
The new management structure for the public service, introduced under the Public Service Management Act, 1997, provides that the authority, responsibility and accountability for the management functions are with the administrative head of a Department or office. Section 2 of the Act provides a mechanism to enable the Attorney General to be included under the terms of the Act. I understand that the Attorney General is completing the process of consultation within his office at the moment and will decide in the near future about consent to the Act.