Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (234)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

234. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice if she will release files in respect of reports from the C3 Division of An Garda Síochána, sent routinely to her Department by a person (details supplied) concerning information provided for the period 1969 to 1972, with particular reference to the importation of arms; her views on whether such files would be of interest to historians in view of the length of time which has since elapsed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29425/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The National Archives Act provides that departmental files are subject to consideration for release to the National Archives, where appropriate, and open to public inspection. I understand that many of the records relating to the Arms Trial were released to the National Archives in 2000.

While the Deputy will appreciate that some of the records could not be released because they contain sensitive Garda reports or potentially defamatory information, it should be noted that these files are subject to periodic review, including as to whether they should be released. As the Deputy is also aware, related matters were also the subject of reviews by the Attorney General and the then Minister for Justice in 2001. They were also debated in the House at that time.

As I recently informed the Deputy, it is not possible, given the current restrictions, to physically examine all of the remaining documents that exist in my Department. I gave a commitment to the Deputy that the files will be reviewed and will be released as appropriate.

In advance of any such review, it would not be appropriate for me to speculate on the nature of the records held nor their value to historians.