Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (487)

Noel Harrington


500 Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the State agencies and bodies within the remit of his Department that have the power to enter or search premises in the course of an investigation; if they need a search warrant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35314/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

Section 28 of the Radiological Protection Act 1991 provides for the appointment of inspectors by RPII for the purposes of the Act. Section 29 sets out the powers of those appointed inspectors. In particular, Section 29(3)(a) provides that in pursuance of those powers the inspector has the power, inter alia, to enter at all times any building, land or other place, aircraft, marine vessel, lorry or other vehicle. There is no requirement for a search warrant.

Section 252 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 provides members of the Board of An Bord Pleanála and inspectors authorised by the Board under the section power to enter land in connection with the carrying out of functions under the Act. All of the Board's inspectors, and consultants engaged by the Board on casework, are appointed by the Board to be authorised persons under Section 252.

Section 13 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 provides that an authorised person may enter a premises at reasonable times, for purposes connected with that Act. Where that premises is a private dwelling, 24 hours written notice must be provided or the consent of the occupier must be received. Where an authorised person in the exercise of his powers under this section is prevented from entering any premises, or where he has reason to believe that evidence related to a suspected offence under this Act may be removed or destroyed, the authorised person or the person by whom he was appointed may apply to the District Court for a warrant authorising such entry. The Environmental Protection Agency also has powers of entry under the Water Pollution Act 1977, European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for protection of Waters) Regulations 2010, the Dumping at Sea Act 1996 and the Water Services Acts 2007 and 2012.

Section 111 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 provides that a mediator, adjudicator or member of the Rent Tribunal or the Private Residential Tenancies Board dealing with a dispute under Part 6 of the Act may enter and inspect a dwelling to which the dispute relates for the purposes of their functions under that Part. There is no provision for making an application for a search warrant under the section.