Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Ceisteanna (251)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

251. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the email from his Department referred to by the Taoiseach during Leaders' Questions on 21 November 2017, to which the Government's attention was drawn on 16 July 2017, was not sent to the Disclosures Tribunal until 21 July 2017. [50420/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I assume that the dates of 16 July and 21 July 2017 in the Deputy's question should read 16 and 21 November 2017 respectively.

For the sake of clarity I can confirm that the e-mail to which the Deputy refers was forwarded to the Disclosures Tribunal on 21 November 2017.

The original email of 15 May 2015 was located by officials in my Department on 9 November 2017. I became aware of the existence of the email on 13 November 2017 by way of a telephone call from the Secretary General of my Department. At that stage, my officials were ascertaining if there was any other correspondence or e-mails in or around the time of the May 2015 e-mail to ensure that a full disclosure was made to the Tribunal. 

My officials, on 14 November 2017, sought the views of the Attorney General in relation to the discovery of the email to the Tribunal. 

A wider check was initiated to ascertain if there was any other relevant correspondence and that search was completed on 16 November.  

It was on 16 November that the Tánaiste was informed about the recovery of the email of 15 May 2015.

On 20 November, the Taoiseach was informed about the email.

As already outlined to the Deputy, my Department wrote to the Disclosures Tribunal on 21 November enclosing copies of the relevant emails. The Tribunal last week acknowledged the practical assistance of the Department of Justice to date.

As the Deputy is aware, further e-mails have come to light following a trawl of emails which was completed over the weekend. My Department disclosed these to the Tribunal yesterday, 27 November 2017 and published the full threads on my Department's website.

My statement to the Dáil this evening sets out these issues in greater detail.

Questions Nos. 252 to 254, inclusive, answered with Question No. 249.