Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 256 to 259, inclusive, and 284 of 5 December 2017, if he has received the full report he requested from the Acting Commissioner; the reason this section 41 report was forwarded to the Attorney General; if the initial report he received under section 41 and the report he subsequently requested from the acting Commissioner will be published in the public interest; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2248/18]
92. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the ongoing role the disclosures tribunal co-ordination unit has; if an independent person to review the actions of this unit will be appointed in view of recent reports received under section 41; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2249/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 91 and 92 together.
As the Deputy is aware the Garda Commissioner made a report to me under section 41(1) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 on 27 November last. The report forwarded a document that detailed concerns in relation to the operation of the Tribunal Co-ordination Office established within An Garda Síochána to meet its obligations to the Disclosures Tribunal.
This matter is something I treat with the utmost seriousness and in that regard I instructed that the contents of the report be referred to the Disclosures Tribunal. That was done on 29 November last. The report was also referred to the Office of the Attorney General in order to seek advice in relation to the matters contained in the document and the appropriate course of action.
I wrote to the Commissioner and requested a report under section 41(2) of the 2005 Garda Act 2005 addressing all of the issues raised in the document in so far as it relates to the Garda Síochána and the Commissioner's responsibilities. In late December, an initial report was forwarded to my Department where it is under consideration.
My Department is examining the document and the Commissioner’s response to determine what further actions may be appropriate on foot of it.
As I have stated the Commissioner's report has been referred to the Disclosures Tribunal which is currently engaged in its work. If the Deputy has any concerns about any of these issues, the Tribunal has wide discretion and its terms of reference allow it to investigate contacts between members of An Garda Síochána and State entities in the course of its work. In this context, it is of course open to any person to bring matters to the attention of the Tribunal.