Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Justice and Equality
Tribunals of Inquiry
58. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the way in which he is satisfied that the Charleton tribunal will receive all the documents, memos, emails, letters and other communications relevant to its work (details supplied) in view of recent revelations that his Department withheld certain documents from the tribunal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51750/17]
Discovery orders were issued by the Tribunal to my Department in February, April and September. These orders were fully complied with and the relevant documents were forwarded to the Tribunal in February, May and September 2017.
For the benefit of the House I can say that the discovery orders concerned records of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, documents related to two cases which had been considered by the Independent Review Mechanism, a copy of a representation to the then Minister which referenced Sgt McCabe, a report of a GSOC investigation into a complaint that a Garda investigation of an alleged serious assault was not properly carried out and records related to the allegation of contacts between the Gardaí and TUSLA in relation to Garda Keith Harrison.
The Department has also made extensive voluntary disclosure of other matters including three protected disclosures, reports from the Garda Commissioner under section 41 of the Garda Síochána Act and, most recently, the two email threads that were uncovered following a trawl of documents in the Department. In acknowledging receipt of the emails, the Tribunal made reference to my Department's already extensive discovery which has allowed the Tribunal to place the current documents in context.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Taoiseach has announced that there will be an external examination of the way in which my Department fulfilled its obligations in relation to discovering documents to the Tribunal, to conclude before Christmas. That is a step I welcome.
I can assure the Deputy that any further Discovery Orders to be made by the Tribunal will also be complied with in full and the Tribunal has been assured of my full and ongoing support in that regard.