Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 2 Apr 2015

Vol. 873 No. 3

Other Questions

Youth Justice Strategy

Niall Collins


6. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is satisfied with the number of persons under 25 years of age being committed to prison; the current number of persons under 25 years of age in prison; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13371/15]

Will the Minister outline the number of prisoners aged under 25 currently within the prison system? The most recent information available to me indicates there are 844 such prisoners. We have had two reports which referred to this matter, the report by the Oireachtas justice committee on penal reform and the strategic review on penal policy. Will the Minister indicate any plans or proposals she has in light of the recommendations of those two reports?

On 28 February 2015, there were 774 prisoners in custody under the age of 25. This represents 20% of the total prisoner population of 3,780 on that day. It also represents a 25% decrease when compared with the same date in 2012.

This reduction is due to several factors, including the successful implementation of the Children Act 2001 and the very successful Garda diversion programmes in place throughout the country. We intend to expand that programme this year. Other factors in the reduction in prisoner numbers are the successful supervision of young offenders by the young persons probation service and the provision by the Health Service Executive of high support and special care units, which act as a diversion for complex cases. The children in these units are now receiving more appropriate care than they would have done in the past.

The primary role of the Irish Prison Service is to provide safe and secure custody for prisoners. The service must accept all persons committed by the courts into custody and does not have the option of refusing committals. The service collates and publishes excellent statistical data on a daily, monthly and a quarterly basis, and the data are available on its website.

Responsibility for 16 year old males was assigned to the Oberstown campus in 2012. I take this opportunity to thank the Inspector of Prisons and Places of Detention for his ongoing work in this area. In line with his recommendations to effect changes in regime and culture and to ensure the safe and secure custody of juvenile and young adult offenders, a Government decision was taken to close St. Patrick's Institution and invest €56 million in the Oberstown campus.

All 17 year old males currently serving a sentence are in custody in Wheatfield Place of Detention, which focuses on the provision of a comprehensive work and training programme for all offenders, specifically targeting those prisoners aged 21 years and younger.

Additional information not given on the floor of the House

Males of 18 years and older may be sentenced to any committal prison, at the direction of the presiding judge. Prisoners aged 18 years or older may also be transferred from Wheatfield Place of Detention to other prisons for family and other compassionate reasons.

With effect from last Monday, 30 March 2015, the Oberstown Campus is receiving 17 year old males who are remanded in custody. Such children were previously remanded to St. Patrick's Institution, which has long been a matter of concern. Responsibility for the remand of 17 year old males on new remand warrants is now assigned to Oberstown. However, all 17 year old children currently remanded in custody in St. Patrick's will remain there until the expiration of their current remand order. The Irish Prison Service has prepared a contingency plan, where it may be unavoidable that a child has to be temporarily remanded in custody to St. Patrick's Institution, and any such case will be actively managed by close co-ordination with the Irish Youth Justice Service. This is an important further step towards the implementation of the programme for Government commitment to end the detention of children in adult facilities.

In co-operation with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I am anxious to ensure the ending of the practice at the earliest possible date of detaining children in adult prison facilities. I have requested the various agencies concerned in the criminal justice system to co-operate closely in the implementation of this measure. These arrangements will apply until additional facilities have been opened in Oberstown and the Children Act 2001 has been amended during 2015, which will enable the full transfer of responsibility for 17 year old males to the Oberstown Campus, including 17 year olds who are serving a sentence in Wheatfield Place of Detention.

The statistics requested by the Deputy are set out in the following table.

Table 1 - Prisoners aged 17-24 by location






Arbour Hill Prison





Castlerea Prison





Cloverhill Remand Prison





Cork Prison





Limerick Prison (Female)





Limerick Prison (Male)





Loughan House





Midlands Prison





Mountjoy Prison (Female)





Mountjoy Prison (Male)





Portlaoise Prison





Shelton Abbey





St. Patrick's Institution





The Training Unit





Wheatfield Place of Detention










We all recognise that there must be consequences for young people who break the law, but the focus should be on rehabilitation rather than imprisonment. The problem is that the current prison regime is not focused on rehabilitation. The statistics in regard to recidivism prove that, with up to 62.3% of prisoners re-offending within three years.

Of that 62%, 80% reoffend within one year. People are coming out without being rehabilitated. They are possibly gaining a greater knowledge of crime while in the prison system. I acknowledge that the number of under-25s who are in prison has fallen by a significant amount. However, the focus on rehabilitation has to be a priority. How does the Minister intend to address the high reoffending rate, particularly among younger people who reoffend when they leave prison? Will the Minister comment on any plans she has to roll out community courts? The introduction of such courts was a recommendation of the Oireachtas justice committee and the strategic review of penal policy.

I am interested to hear the Deputy's views on how to deal with young people. I am also happy to hear his support for the 25% decrease in the numbers of young people under 25 going into prison and his support for alternative initiatives. I agree with the Deputy that it is extremely important to give people a second chance by way of community diversion programmes. Good inter-agency work is being done by the Probation Service and the Prison Service. This kind of inter-agency work is key in the future. I have appointed a chairperson to begin to implement the recommendations in the report the Deputy mentioned. I intend to implement that report. The report analysed carefully how we can best help and how penal reform policy should develop in the period ahead.

Will the Minister comment on the roll-out of community courts? Is this a priority for the Government? We have seen in other jurisdictions that it is a significant positive factor in contributing to rehabilitation. People who offend up to a certain level in the community face sanction within the community rather than being committed to prison. Levels of recidivism and reoffending by people exiting the current system are high. The system is working against society. Given the considerable amount of low-level crime across communities in this country, the roll-out of community courts would be a positive development.

I thank members of the committee and the chair of the committee, Deputy David Stanton, for the work done in this area. It is clear that it is a worthwhile initiative and I hope to progress it. I would also like to see the development of family courts and I hope to introduce legislation to establish family courts. During the passage of the recent Children and Family Relationships Bill, it was clear that many Members of this House were dissatisfied with the current approach, including the hearing of family cases in the middle of many other cases, and that they wanted to see the development of family courts.

As the Deputy knows, we have just established the Court of Appeal. There is therefore quite a lot of change already under way. This is important. The Courts Service and the Chief Justice are very conscious of the kind of changes which are necessary to streamline our courts and to ensure people are not delayed in the hearing of cases. Progress is being made with the new Court of Appeal in that regard. It is clear that there are a range of issues which need ongoing attention. As priorities permit, I hope to continue to develop the reform of the courts in the way I have outlined.

Anti-Racism Measures

Pádraig MacLochlainn


7. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will renew the national action plan against racism and take steps to actively and effectively tackle racism. [13287/15]

Will the Minister renew the national action plan against racism, and will she examine this area in terms of statistics and the recording of racist incidents?

The Government is firmly committed to combatting and challenging any and all manifestations of racism. Ireland was one of the first states in the world to develop a national action plan against racism. When the National Action Plan against Racism 2005-2008 was launched, it was conceived as a four-year programme to run until the end of 2008. It was designed to provide strategic direction towards developing a more intercultural and inclusive society in Ireland, and was integration-driven. Under the plan, support was provided towards the development of a number of national and local strategies, including greater integration in key role model profession workplaces such as An Garda Síochána, the health service, the education system, the arts and sports sectors and within our local authorities.

The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in my Department is the focal point for the Government's commitment on anti-racism as a key aspect of integration, diversity management and broader national social policy. The office continues to work with all the relevant sectors to further progress the integration and diversity management agenda. Many of the initiatives which were instigated through the National Action Plan against Racism 2005-2008 continue to be developed and progressed through the support and work of the office.

A review of our approach to the integration of migrants was launched last year. This review will provide the basis for a new and updated migrant integration strategy. Work on the integration strategy is ongoing and a draft will be sent to key stakeholders for their observations before the summer with a view to publication as soon as possible thereafter. I expect that the integration strategy, when developed, will include a strong anti-racism component.

Yesterday we had a presentation before the Oireachtas justice committee about the issue of migrants in Ireland. I think the name of the organisation making the presentation was the Immigration Control Platform. The views being put to our committee were not popular with the committee. I said I would guarantee that when the committee's proceedings were reported on thejournal.ie in the evening, the majority of the comments would be in support of the anti-migrant views being put forward. I was absolutely correct. They were overwhelmingly in support of the views put forward.

This country has a real issue of latent resentment of migrants. I do not believe Ireland is a racist country, but there is a significant fear of migrants, which is ironic given our huge history of emigration. My concern is that there is no record or CSO data on racist incidents. The overwhelming majority of racist incidents are not reported because, perhaps, the victims feel there is no point or that the issue was not serious enough. There is a hell of a lot more work to be done.

I will let the Minister of State comment now.

That is fair enough. I will reply.

I appreciate where the Deputy is coming from. Last night in the Seanad I said that we should be reasonably satisfied, without being complacent in any way, that the political system and political debate in this country have not been strangled by the issue of immigration. If one looks at what is happening in the UK and across Europe at the moment, one can see that xenophobic tendencies are getting into the mainstream and immigration is at the heart of political debate in election campaigns.

We have to tackle the issue of racism, but the issue of integration is, to my mind, closely associated with it. We have asked sports clubs to have anti-racism strategies when applying for sports capital grants. That is not enough any more. Sports clubs, and all those in society, need to find strategies to positively interact and reach out, and they need to have integration strategies. Having reactions to particular negative incidents is fine and well and important. However, it is much more challenging for Irish society or aspects of Irish society to reach out. That is why having people of different ethnic backgrounds in key role model professions is also very important.

Everyone of us in these Houses knows that to advocate for the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and Travellers is not politically popular. If this is the case, there is a racism issue. I am not saying that every person who does not want migrants in Ireland is racist, but there clearly will be a section of people who are. There is clearly a challenge. We can go a long way in taking action to deal with these issues if we deliver on Traveller ethnicity, radically reform the direct provision system and look at the regularisation of migrants as proposed by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland. The core point today is that it is time for a new action plan on racism. We need to focus on this area again. We need to win hearts and minds. It appears that most Members in these Houses advocate for these matters, but they are not popular issues. We are doing something wrong, and the best way to deal with that is to put in place concrete actions and measures to combat the views out there.

I appreciate the Deputy's comments. Work is ongoing in respect of Traveller ethnicity, direct provision, integration and interaction. Yesterday there was positive interaction with the Deputy's committee.

One of the points I am quite keen to pursue under the integration strategy relates to young people. Obviously, a number of young people are between two identities at the moment. They might have come here as migrants or might be the children of migrants. They are now trying to come to terms with being between two identities. I am keen to use that as a positive factor in society in order that people are comfortable with being Irish-Nigerian, Irish-Polish or Irish-Moldovan. We need to ensure we do not make the mistakes made by other countries 50 years ago when they had their first influx of migrants. For example, we can galvanise what is best about the identities of young people who often feel alienated from the mainstream of society and move forward from there. If we make mistakes now, we will reap a whirlwind of discontent for years to come. The needs of the education sector are at the heart of the integration strategy. The challenges faced by young people are of key importance in that context.

Judicial Appointments

Mattie McGrath


8. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the efforts her Department is making to ensure the independence of the judicial appointment process under the current constitutional arrangement; if the current process is robust enough; the measures that will be taken to ensure greater transparency and accountability for the public who have concerns around judicial misconduct; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13288/15]

This question relates to the independence of the Judiciary. In its preliminary submission to the Department of Justice and Equality in 2014, the judicial appointments review committee said that "the system of judicial appointment in Ireland is by now demonstrably deficient, fails to meet international standards of best practice, and must be reformed". When are we going to see the reforms? How is the Minister going to ensure we have a transparently independent judicial system, which is vital in any democracy?

I absolutely agree with the Deputy that it is vital. The Judiciary and the courts are at the heart of the justice system and are constitutionally independent in their operation. Under the Constitution, judges are appointed by the President on the advice of the Government. As the Deputy knows, the current process for the appointment of judges in Ireland is set out in Part IV of the Courts and Court Officers Act 1995, as amended. This Act established the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board, which is the board involved. With regard to the independence of the Judiciary, I was pleased to note the conclusions in the recent report of the Council of Europe's anti-corruption group, which is known as GRECO. Its fourth round evaluation report on Ireland found that our Judiciary is among the most trusted public institutions in the country. It was gratifying that the principle of judicial independence in this country was recognised by the international evaluation team - GRECO - that did this work and that the independence and professionalism of our judges was not disputed.

The need to ensure and protect the principle of judicial independence was a significant factor in the announcement by my predecessor in December 2013 of a consultation process on the system of judicial appointments. While the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board that we currently have was a model of best practice, it would be timely to review the operation of the judicial appointments system to ensure it reflects current best practice, is open, transparent and accountable and promotes diversity. We got a significant response to our call for submissions. We have those submissions now. They cover many different areas, including criteria for eligibility and the appointment process. A report on the consultation process that is being finalised by my Department will inform the provisions of the forthcoming judicial appointments Bill, which will reform and update judicial appointments procedures. I intend to submit this Bill to the Government and publish it later this year.

Additional information not given on the floor of the House

The review and reform of this area which is critical to the functioning of our system of justice provides an opportunity to determine what type of system can best respond to the expectations and needs of a modern state.

As regards allegations of judicial misconduct, the Deputy will be aware that the programme for Government undertakes to "legislate to establish a Judicial Council, with lay representation, to provide an effective mechanism for dealing with complaints against judges". The judicial council Bill, which is being drafted at present and is on the A list in the current legislative programme, is intended to give effect to this commitment.

I am awaiting the judicial reform Bill that has been promised. Like many of my colleagues, I have raised it with the Taoiseach on several occasions in the House. Deputy Shane Ross introduced his own Private Members' Bill on the issue of judicial appointments, but it was rejected by the Government. I am not satisfied at all, regardless of what the European body mentioned by the Minister might have said, or what might have happened in 2013. I am particularly dissatisfied about the handling of cases in the financial courts involving the repossession of people's homes. The House considered a Private Members' motion tabled by my colleague, Deputy Michael McGrath, over the past two days. The pressure being experienced by people was mentioned during that debate. We have seen recently that courts have been cleared of members of the public who had come in to help ordinary people who could not afford to pay for legal representation. The courts were cleared and the cases were held behind closed doors. That could not be right or proper. The Master of the High Court has tried to challenge the legality of the process around repossessions, mortgages and court cases. I understand he is under judicial review at this time. Why is an eminent man of his position being silenced? Serious issues of transparency and openness in the courts arise here.

The courts are independent.

They are meant to be.

Separation of powers is very important. I am not going to comment here on the actions taken in a particular court in relation to repossessions or any other issue. Judges act as they see fit. They have full independence in doing that. I am interested in examining the judicial council. I will be moving ahead to establish a judicial council. That is an important Bill as well. Obviously, my responsibility is in the policy area. I am responsible for bringing in appropriate legislation. It is time we had a judicial council in this area. Such a council will have the various powers I have outlined previously. That legislation is moving ahead. As the Deputy knows, I have had to deal with a number of other priority Bills in recent weeks. We are moving ahead on the judicial council Bill. We will be publishing it this year. As I said earlier, my Department has prepared a report on the submissions that have been made on the judicial appointments legislation. I will go to the Government with that later this year.

I am not happy with the Minister's reply. I am not making a blanket criticism of judges. I am saying there are serious question marks over some business in the financial courts. I visited an unfortunate farmer from County Carlow in jail recently. He was freed after 15 days under habeas corpus. He would not be freed if he was imprisoned in proper circumstances, so that is a situation. A good number of members of the Judiciary have not fully disclosed their financial affairs with the banks. How come 98% of financial cases involving mortgage companies and banks are going in favour of the banks? It is not independent. It is not even acting like it is independent. Proper justice is not served when the public is denied access to the courts.

The Deputy needs to be very careful.

I accept fully that if courts are going to be disturbed or upset, we cannot have that. Justice has to be done in public and be seen to be done in public. Justice behind closed doors is not proper justice. There are serious question marks about certain cases, including a case that is in the Court of Appeal today involving another farmer who has been imprisoned on foot of a warrant. Many of these warrants are questionable. The proper process is not being obeyed.

The Deputy is making very serious allegations.

I will furnish the Minister with the details.

His allegations about judges and about behaviour in courts are very serious.

I would not make them only for I had them tracked.

In its current form, the judicial council Bill provides for the establishment of a judicial council and board that will promote excellence and high standards of conduct by judges. It will also provide a means of investigating allegations of judicial misconduct. In this context, a judicial conduct committee with lay representation will be established. It is an important Bill. It is important to emphasise that this legislation will facilitate the ongoing support and education of judges through a judicial studies committee and through the establishment of judicial support committees. The Bill is an important part of the infrastructure that needs to be in place in our courts to support the work of our judges and to ensure we have an effective mechanism for dealing with complaints against judges.

Prison Staff

Pádraig MacLochlainn


9. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the commitments she has given to the Prison Officers Association to ensure the safety of its members. [13283/15]

This question relates to the concerns of the Prison Officers Association. I know the Minister has engaged with the association. I would like to get an update on that engagement. Are the concerns of the association being addressed?

Obviously, the primary role of the Irish Prison Service is to provide safe and secure custody for prisoners. The Deputy will be aware that I take the health and safety of Irish Prison Service staff very seriously, just as he does. I have met the representative association and the head of the Irish Prison Service. I have been assured by the director general of the Irish Prison Service that every action is taken by the service to ensure, as far as possible, the safety of all prison staff. That is clearly and absolutely a critical consideration. The director general has assured me that every violent assault is treated as a serious incident, as indeed it should be.

The Deputy will be aware that a serious incident occurred recently when a prisoner assaulted two prison staff while on an escort to Tallaght hospital for medical treatment. In light of this incident, the Irish Prison Service has established a focus group on hospital escorts and procedures, which is being chaired by the director of operations. The focus group is looking at this issue in detail. The purpose of the group is to review the conduct of hospital escorts and to make recommendations to the director general in order that we can have absolute safety.

This was a very unusual event. However rare an event of this seriousness is, we must have all the procedures in place. The Prison Service control and restraint advisory group was also convened following the incident to consider several issues including personal protective equipment, defensive equipment, training and communications. Proposals have been identified regarding the requirements for prison escorts. The group’s short, interim and long-term recommendations were accepted by the Prison Service’s director general. The prison officer national executive sits on the advisory group and contributes to its work. At a meeting which I chaired between the representatives of the prison officers and the governor, it was agreed that any protective equipment, for example, that was needed would be issued.

One of the main concerns is that 60% of requests for armed escorts from the Prison Service were turned down by An Garda Síochána, meaning out of 166 requests for armed escorts for inmates being transported outside of prisons, 97 were rejected. There is a concern that this may reflect resource limitations. Are there grounds for bringing together the Garda Commissioner and the head of the Prison Service to address these issues? I accept some of these rejections may well be legitimate. Are they purely made on a security basis or do they reflect resources use?

Prison management may make a request for an armed escort based on a risk assessment of a prisoner who is due to be escorted outside the prison. It is sent to the operations directive and then forwarded to An Garda Síochána where it is given careful consideration to determine if the escort is to be granted. Armed escorts are requested for prisoners who pose the highest security risk or escape risk. Criminal gang leaders, subversive prisoners and prisoners requiring an armed escort have a flag enabled on their record on the prison information management system.

Despite the fact a prisoner may be flagged for an armed escort, this does not mean one will be granted by the Garda. While there are certain high-security prisoners who could not be escorted outside prison without the presence of an armed escort, there are others whose escort would proceed, despite the fact that an armed escort request was refused. In these cases, a careful risk assessment would be carried out.

It is not a question of resources but is based on the risk assessment. Where the Garda considers there should be an armed escort, it will be made available.

In the case of Derek Brockwell, something went wrong. There needs to be a review of the circumstances of this prisoner’s escape. This was a prisoner with a violent history who unfortunately proved to be a threat. That case alone shines a spotlight on the need to review the criteria between An Garda Síochána and the Prison Service. Will this happen?

The Prison Officers Association asked for anti-stab vests, incapacitant sprays and extendable batons to be made available to them during prisoner transfers. Will these be made available in future?

The director general of the Prison Service has established an implementation group, chaired by the governor of the Prison Service escort corps, to implement several actions including the purchase of personal protection equipment, provision of training and the identification of high-risk escorts. The transportation of high-risk escorts is to be reviewed and improved lines of communication are to be set up. In addition to these measures, several trials in the use and application of new equipment are to be undertaken.

The recent incident involving a prisoner has triggered a review in several areas. My understanding is that the Prison Officers Association and prisons management are getting on with an implementation plan in which all are involved.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Seán Kyne


10. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide an update on the provision of the new divisional headquarters for An Garda Síochána in Galway city; the construction timeframe; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13313/15]

The programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is based on accommodation priorities established by the Garda Síochána. The programme is advanced in close co-operation with the Office of Public Works, which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. Funding for such works is provided for in the Vote of the Office of Public Works.

In July 2012, the Government announced an economic stimulus package which included three major Garda construction projects, namely, the development of new divisional headquarter stations to replace the existing headquarters at Wexford, Galway and Kevin Street in Dublin. Initially, these projects were to be financed by way of public private partnership. However, the Office of Public Works was subsequently requested to develop the new facilities by way of a traditional procurement process.

Included in budget 2015 is a capital allocation of €42 million to enable the commencement of work on these three new Garda divisional headquarters. I am advised by the Garda authorities that the procurement process for the construction of the new Garda divisional headquarters in Galway is significantly advanced, with work expected to commence in the coming months.

I welcome the Minister’s reply and this week’s announcement of additional recruitment to An Garda Síochána. I am confident that Galway will get its fair share of them. Will the Minister confirm that the Garda Commissioner will take cognisance of the Gaeltacht areas in Galway and ensure sufficient Garda numbers proficient in the Irish language as required under the various language Acts?

I will raise that issue with the Garda Commissioner. Clearly, these are operational decisions. The fact, however, that there are 550 recruits going through Templemore training college will help in this matter, ensuring local community policing, including in Gaeltacht areas, which is necessary and essential for a proper policing service to protect the community and interrupt crime.

Garda Complaints Procedures

Clare Daly


11. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress with the cases being evaluated under the independent review mechanism;and the reason a process that was supposed to take eight weeks has gone on for more than eight months. [13311/15]

This is the same question as Nos. 1 and 2. In her reply to those questions, the Minister referred to some of the delays in some of the cases before the panel with 65 of them before 2000 and some of them going back to 1969, as if that were some problem that could not be overcome. Yesterday, the Minister pardoned somebody who was hanged in 1941. Time is not a reason for not doing this.

My main concern is that where people have gone through procedures before, there is nothing that can be done for them. This is a significant issue as they feel the procedures were faulty and this is what the panel has been asked to examine.

I was not using the time as an excuse. I was pointing out these are complex cases that have been through many different procedures. The very point of the review mechanism is to establish if there has been, as the Deputy described it, a fault in the process used at the time such as if there were a miscarriage of justice, unacceptable behaviour, some issue not explored properly or the investigation was not completed. This is the judgment call the independent review panel is being asked to make.

We are asking for a comprehensive and professional analysis, much like we have seen in other cases where there have been detailed examinations of all the information available and a recommendation made. In the pardon to which the Deputy referred, there was an investigation, a review of all the material and a decision was taken. With the panel, junior and senior counsel will analyse the cases and examine all the actions that happened and review all the material. On the basis of that, they will decide if further action is needed. This is a completely independent legal process of analysis of the material. If extra information came in, it will be handed over to the panel, even if the case has been concluded.

We have had discussions in the House and I have made it clear that all of the written information submitted will be examined. Some of the complainants have sent in extra material and all of that is being analysed.

That has not been the case in respect of the people who have interacted with the panel. The problem is that there is no transparency or accountability. We cannot challenge the Minister unless we have direct evidence from them, which we do have. I use the example of the Shane Tuohey case. Evidence emerged of 17 CCTV footage tapes on the night Mr. Tuohey was murdered that had been missing for 17 years. A request was made that the panel would look at this. The Minister said this was a matter for the Garda when the Garda are at the heart of the problem as to why these people went to the panel. The Minister has created a huge problem. Given the soundings she is making, we will have a real problem when she starts writing to people with some of the responses.

We are the first Government to take a group of cases like these about which people have had concerns and to put a process in place to examine them in good faith. It is an independent process. All of the information that is available on each of the cases can be made available to the panel and it can seek extra information if there is some stand-out issue that has not been addressed. In the first instance, each of the particular complainants will get a response. I will start doing that after Easter. I have also asked for a summary report of the process, which I will publish.

Written Answers follow Adjournment.