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Collins Report further highlights dysfunction in Department of Justice – Ó Laoghaire

27 March, 2018 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin TD and Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has responded to the publication of the report by Michael Collins SC into the forwarding of documentation to the Charleton Tribunal.

The Cork South-Central TD said:

“In the first instance, this report clearly underlines the dysfunction, highlighted in the Toland report, which exists in the Department of Justice, particularly to the lack of a clear system for the filing and storage of emails.

“However, the Report misses the point with regard to the conclusion that ‘the Review has identified no evidence of failure to comply with those orders’. While the specific material requested in an individual order may have been disclosed, it is very clear that relevant documentation, namely the emails of the May and July 2015 emails, was not forwarded to the tribunal. It is clear that this was relevant to the terms of reference. It is quite clear that this should have been forwarded.

“While on the one hand, it finds no deliberate non-disclosure. It remains absolutely remarkable, and quite astonishing, that an initial search for documents did not include the email accounts of officials in the Policing Division or senior officials in the Department or the Secretary General’s office. That is scarcely credible.

“It is also extraordinary that these documents were not found during the O’Neill scoping exercise, nor during preparation of documents to be sent to the Tribunal but were located after a number of Parliamentary Questions.

“Last year, Sinn Féin tabled a motion to have the Charleton Tribunal terms of reference amended so that the Tribunal could consider the possibility of a deliberate failure to disclose central documents by the Department. The motion was defeated, and we were assured that Charleton had the scope to consider these matters. I hope that that is the case and that the Tribunal will in fact give these matters consideration.” 

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