Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Emergency Powers Act Cases.

2.

asked the Minister for Justice the number of people that have been detained under section 2 of the Emergency Powers Act, 1976; the number that have been charged; the number that have been convicted; the number of cases in which a plea of nolle prosequi has been applied; the number that have been discharged for other reasons; and the number that have been found not guilty.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that in the period up to the end of February, 401 persons were arrested under section 2 of the Emergency Powers Act, 1976, 39 of these persons were subsequently charged, 6 were convicted, 6 were found not guilty, 3 were discharged by the courts for other reasons, but have since been rearrested and charged again and 24, not including the three I have just mentioned, are still before the courts.

These figures relate to persons, not charges, and there was no case in which a nolle prosequi was entered in respect of all charges against any of the persons charged. The Garda do not keep statistics of cases where a nolle is entered in respect of some but not all charges against a person.

Can the Minister say what the increase in the rate of detection was as the result of the introduction by him of the so-called emergency package of legislation last September?

I have no information as to that. That is not something that can be quantified because the rate of detection must, obviously, relate to the rate of commission of crime.

Has the number of prosecutions increased

I am satisfied that the Garda are being effective and successful in combating subversive crime.

My question is whether the number of successful prosecutions has increased as a result of this legislation at present in operation.

One cannot say whether the number has increased or not unless one compares that with the preceding number. If the Deputy would give me some comparison to set it against, then we could assess it.

Can the Minister say how many people were not charged who were arrested under this section?

If the Deputy does a calculation, there were 401 persons arrested and 39 were subsequently charged, so the difference would be reached by subtracting one figure from the other.

So between 80 per cent and 90 per cent were not charged at all?

That would be so.

Does the Minister feel that that is a satisfactory situation?

I am not saying whether it is satisfactory or unsatisfactory. The Garda arrested these persons under section 2 which restates section 30 of the 1939 Act, so under section 2 they did merely what they previously had been doing under the 1939 Act.

For seven days?

For seven days? I have not any information here as to how long those persons were held. All persons arrested under section 2 are not necessarily held for seven days. Many are released much sooner and many are released before the expiration of 48 hours.

Were only six people out of 401 convicted?

There are only six convicted so far. There are a number of charges still outstanding.

Could the Minister say how many of the 401 were detained for more than two days?

I have not got that information.