Written answers

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)
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90. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the report of the Military Court of enquiry into an armed raid (details supplied) is available for perusal by FCA personnel who gave evidence in the military archives or his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57751/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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With regard to Military Courts of Inquiry, the Defence Forces Regulation (DFR) A5, together with Rules of Procedure (Defence Forces) 2008 (SI 204/2008), set out the procedures for Courts of Inquiry. Defence Forces Regulation A5 provides that:

“The findings and recommendations of all courts of inquiry shall be treated as confidential. They shall not be disclosed to interested parties, except as provided in subsection 181 (2) of the Defence Act, 1954, Rules of Procedure (Defence Forces) 2008 and the Defence Force Regulations A.8 unless otherwise directed by the Minister”

This does not exempt Court of Inquiry files from the National Archives of Ireland Act. Where Court of Inquiry records have been transferred to the Military Archives, copies of statements made to the Court of Inquiry can be provided to the person who made the statement.

In the event that the particular files that the Deputy is enquiring about have been transferred to Military Archives, I can advise that Courts of Inquiry records transferred to Military Archives may be made available for public inspection, or withheld from public inspection under the terms of the National Archives of Ireland Act, 1986, Section 8 (4) a-c. These Sections are invoked when the release of a record would:

Not be in the public interest.

Constitute a breach of statutory obligation (ie, Defence Act, Data Protection Act, Official Secrets Act etc).

Constitute a threat of serious distress or danger to a person(s) still living.

Military Archives has been the official place of deposit for records of the Defence Forces, the Department of Defence and the Army Pensions Board since 1990, as defined in the National Archives Act, 1986.

Further details are required from the Deputy in order for my Department to assist with this particular enquiry. Once clarification is received on the particulars of the enquiry as well as a time-frame to which the records relate, a substantive response can be provided.


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