A Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 15, 16 and 17 together.
There was no communication by the Government to the British authorities of the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions prior to its announcement by him. The Director of Public Prosecutions issued his public announcement on the evening of 12 October. As that announcement indicated, he had earlier that day informed the British Crown Prosecution Service of his decision.
While it is not the practice to disclose communications between the Attorney General and his British counterpart, I can say that on the day and prior to its being announced the British Attorney General was informed of the director's decision by the Attorney General, who had been informed of it by the director that day.
As the House will be aware the Director of Public Prosecutions is, by virtue of section 2 (5) of the Prosecution of Offences Act, 1974, independent in regard to decisions taken by him whether or not to prosecute in any particular case. Accordingly, while I do not accept that there is any apparent discrepancy such as the questions suggest, it would be quite inappropriate for me to comment on the director's decision in the case referred to by the Deputies.
It would also be inappropriate for me to comment on the statement issued by the Attorney General in December 1988, in connection with the exercise of his independent functions or on the decision recorded in that statement. I emphasise that it was the Attorney General's statement and it will be recalled that I read that statement to the House because I considered it desirable that the statement should be on the record of the House. On that occasion I did not, however, offer any comment on the statement and I do not propose to do so now.