Tuesday, 30 March 2004
Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
The Attorney General's office is independent and, therefore, Mr. Deegan is not a political adviser in any form. He acts as a special assistant and liaises between the Attorney General, me and other Departments and colleagues on items that are relevant to the programme for Government. He also keeps the Attorney General informed on items arising in the Dáil, the Seanad, committees and the media which are relevant only to the role of the Attorney General. Practically all matters are in some way relevant to the Attorney General, but Mr. Deegan does not offer political advice, he liaises on issues relating to the administration of the Attorney General's office. There is no political benefit involved. There is an administrative benefit in having a person who assists the attorney and his office by monitoring and keeping them abreast of what is happening thereby allowing them to do their job. There must be available to the Attorney General, a person to liaise on matters relevant to the legislative committee and other issues. Often, much of what happens is not relevant to that office.