Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Justice, Equality and Defence
Inquiries into Garda Activities
Tommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
Question 382: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has examined the practice of ex-GardaÃ allegedly acting as agents for motor insurance companies in view of the fact the allegations that some reports have found their way to agents, within 24 hours of an investigation opening into serious and fatal collisions and before all witness statements have been gathered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17446/11]
Alan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
Allegations of this nature were previously the subject of an investigation which resulted in an Investigation File being submitted to the Law Officers in 2009. The findings of the Law Officers at that time was that no evidence was found of any impropriety, interference or improper advances by either serving or former members of An Garda SÃochÃ¡na.
The general position is that when a Garda member leaves An Garda SÃochÃ¡na their access to Garda Information systems is disabled and there is no mechanism whereby they can access these information systems. Serving and former members of the Force are subject to the prohibition on the disclosure of information contained in the Garda SÃochÃ¡na Act 2005. Section 62 of that Act was enacted for the purpose of specifically prohibiting a person who is or was a member of the Garda SÃochÃ¡na, or of its civilian staff, from disclosing information obtained in the course of his or her duties. The section provides stiff penalties, fines up to â‚¬75,000 and/or up to 7 years imprisonment for conviction on indictment, for persons who contravene its provisions and receive any gift, consideration or advantage as an inducement to disclose any information.
The Garda SÃochÃ¡na takes its responsibilities in relation to information in its possession very seriously and any allegation of misuse will be investigated. If the Deputy has more recent and specific information alleging unauthorised disclosure of Garda data it should be provided to the Garda authorities so that it can be investigated in the proper way.