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Departmental Investigations.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 8 March 2007

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Ceisteanna (76)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

70 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of complaints her Department has received arising from the activities of the Special Investigations Unit of her Department during each of the past five years; the outcome of each complaint; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9075/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Agriculture and Food)

Following are details of written complaints received over the past 5 years by my Department arising from inspections carried by the Special Investigation Unit:

Year

Number

2002

None

2003

1

2004

2

2005

None

2006

None

Each of the complaints was investigated and did not give rise to the need for any action. Since February 2004, the SIU has operated under a written Code of Practice which covers aspects such as conduct of investigations, communications and includes a documented procedure to deal with any complaints which are made.

The investigative procedures of the Unit comply with the standard requirements in regard to the taking and presentation of evidence and the rights of the person under investigation. As such, they reflect the procedures followed in criminal investigations by other agencies. On occasions, investigations by the Unit involve use of search warrants, with all the rules of evidence being strictly complied with. The fact that the work of the Unit has formed the basis for almost all of the successful Court prosecutions taken by my Department is clear evidence of the legality of the actions taken, the integrity of the officials involved and the manner in which they perform their duties.

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