Written Answers. - Northern Ireland Issues.

Joan Burton

Question:

23 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he expects to receive the report of the Nally inquiry into allegations that the gardaí withheld information from their counterparts in Northern Ireland which, it is claimed, might have helped to prevent the Omagh bombing; the reason for the long delay in completing the report; if it is intended to publish the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17092/03]

As I have stated in reply to previous questions in this matter, on 6 January 2003 I was advised by the members of the group established to examine matters arising from the report raising concerns of the activity of the Garda Síochána officers during 1998, dated 22 March 2002, prepared by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, that they had intended to submit their report to me before the end of 2002.

However, in early December it emerged that there were further lines of inquiry which the group felt should be pursued. In these circumstances, the members of the group informed me that completion of their work would, of necessity, take more time than they had previously envisaged but that they would present their report as soon as possible. I understand that the work of the group is well advanced and I hope to receive its report in the near future. When I have considered the report I will make a statement.