Thursday, 29 January 2004

Questions (79)

Mary Upton

Question:

73 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date with regard to the installation of video recording equipment in Garda stations; the number of stations in which the equipment has been installed and the number which have no such equipment; the overall number of interview rooms in Garda stations; the number of those in which equipment has been installed; the number which will have it when the current programme is completed; the number which will have no such equipment; his views on whether it is desirable that all interview rooms should have such equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2502/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I refer the Deputy to the reply I gave to Question No. 56 of Tuesday, 25 November 2003. As I stated then, the Criminal Justice Act 1984 (Electronic Recording of Interviews) Regulations, 1997, provide for the recording of interviews in respect of suspects who are detained in custody. In 1999, the Government decided to introduce an audio-video system for the recording of such interviews and the number of stations and rooms now fitted out with the specialised equipment is such as to provide broad nationwide coverage.

I stress again that there is a total of 703 Garda stations throughout the State. Many of these are rural stations and are not equipped to accommodate the holding of prisoners and are open for a set number of hours or days per week. It was never the intention, nor is it considered necessary, that all 703 Garda stations or that every interview room in these stations be fitted out with the system. I am advised by the Garda authorities that the number of rooms and stations fitted out provides the nationwide coverage envisaged by the Government decision.

As regards the specific information sought by the Deputy on the numbers of rooms equipped, etc., I am informed by the Garda authorities that the data are being researched, and I will write to the Deputy as soon as they are available.

Question No. 74 answered with QuestionNo. 25.
Question No. 75 answered with QuestionNo. 58.