Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Department of Social Protection
351. To ask the Minister for Social Protection if his Department, or the agencies that report to his Department, entered into any non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements with any organisation due to court action or a threatened court action; and if so, the persons or groups with which these agreements exist. [37634/16]
The agencies under the aegis of my Department are the Citizens Information Board, the Pensions Authority, the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman, the Pensions Council and the Social Welfare Tribunal. The subject matter of the question from the Deputy relates to non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements between my Department or its agencies with any organisation, such agreements having been entered into due to court action or threatened court action. The Deputy's question seeks the names of the persons or groups with which such agreements (if any) exist. Non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements can be a feature of settlements across a wide range of areas of litigation. The essence of such agreements is that they are confidential and not to be disclosed to third parties. Therefore, I do not think it would be appropriate to name individuals or organisations with whom any such agreements may be in place.
It is noted that the Deputy's question is open-ended as to timescale. It would not be feasible to engage in an analysis of all the legal cases in which my Department and its agencies have ever engaged to seek to determine (even on an anonymised basis) the number of such agreements.