Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ceisteanna (87)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

87. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach the circumstances in which the Office of the Attorney General in defending cases taken against the State or public bodies will seek to negotiate a confidentiality clause in settlement agreements; the extent to which consideration of the public interest in free access to information regarding the administration of public services in the State are taken into account by the Attorney General as upholder of the public interest in deciding whether to seek a confidentiality clause as part of a settlement; and if section 23 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (details supplied) has had an impact on policy or practice in relation to seeking confidentiality clauses in settlements. [21075/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

Settlements entered into by the State with third parties, do from time to time, contain confidentiality clauses because, for example, of the sensitive or commercial nature of the case. It is sometimes the position that the plaintiff or victim seeks confidentiality, and sometimes part of a settlement only might be subject to a confidentiality clause. The State takes the public interest into account when such clauses are proposed and would not support a clause which is contrary to the public interest.

Furthermore no confidentiality clause would be inserted which contradicts a specific statutory requirement, such as section 23 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, where that is relevant.