Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (229)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

229. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if records of Garda briefings to him or the Department concerning members of the Oireachtas are recorded and archived by his Department. [26578/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Questions Nos. 147 and 148 of 23 May 2013. The position is unchanged.

In the course of my statement in this House on 21 May I made it perfectly clear that there is no suggestion of my being routinely provided with information on members of the Oireachtas. I gave the House a solemn assurance that I am not in the business of receiving, seeking or maintaining confidential, sensitive information from An Garda Síochána about Members of this House, the Seanad or, indeed, anyone in political life. Nor are the Gardaí in the business of providing it. I also repeat my view that it would be entirely unacceptable if the Gardaí were to collect information about anyone, whether in public life or not, for political purposes.

I did make the point that the House would appreciate that there could be exceptional circumstances, which the Deputy will appreciate, where it would be necessary for the Minister for Justice of the day to receive confidential information about the activities of members of the House - for example if members of the House were involved with organisations carrying out terrorist activities.

As I indicated to the House Section 41 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005 provides a clear statutory basis for the information which is provided to me by An Garda Síochána. In turn, I am subject to the laws of the land in relation to what use I make of that information but, more importantly still, I am responsible to the House for how I discharge my office.