Personal Explanation by Minister.

The Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Noel Dempsey, has given notice in writing that he wishes to make a personal explanation and I have decided to permit his statement. This statement will be heard without comment or intervention of any kind. The personal explanation procedure cannot give rise to debate and no questions may be asked.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for facilitating my request to give a short personal explanation to the House.

The House will be aware that controversy arose some weeks ago about my action in preparing and disseminating information to election candidates. The Standards in Public Office Commission made inquiries about the matter and I fully responded to the inquiries. It has now written to me to indicate that it has decided not to carry out an investigation in the matter. However, the commission has taken account of the code of conduct for office holders and is of the view that I did not have regard to and was not guided by the terms of the code of conduct.

In light of that, I offer an apology to my colleagues in Government and to the House. I have made arrangements to repay the cost of the materials and the time of the civil servants involved, €2,590.40, to the Department.