The Garda Síochána is one of the bodies under the aegis of my Department which has not to date been made subject to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1997.
The Freedom of Information Act has been extended to additional public bodies on a phased basis since it commenced in April 1998. The Government has decided that this process should continue so that all bodies appropriate for inclusion are covered by end of 2005.
A working group comprising members of the Garda Síochána and representatives of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform was established by the Garda Commissioner in March 2001 to examine all issues arising from the possible extension of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 to the Garda Síochána and to prepare a detailed proposal of action for consideration by the Commissioner.
Following on from this, the Commissioner has recently made a submission to my Department analysing the issues to which any such extension would give rise. I will carefully consider this submission before coming to a final view on the matter.