PAC Meeting, Nov 5 2015
Department of Justice called and examined
Deputy John Deasy: The Chairman has asked me to finish. The last thing I have to ask concerns the issue of the foster home that we have dealt with in this committee over the past year. There are policy issues arising from that. It is currently being looked at by a senior counsel. The terms of reference are too narrow. The senior counsel will come back with his report shortly.
The third aspect of this is the release of reports by Resilience Ireland and Conal Devine on these matters. Since the last time this was brought up in this committee, the reasons given by the HSE and others have been that the Department of Justice and Equality and the Garda Síochána have expressed concerns that the investigations into these matters are ongoing. Since this was brought up in the last committee hearing, I have gotten a sense of what those investigations are.
They are serious and are being dealt with seriously by the Garda. I know the tenor and substance of them. It has gone on too long. Whatever the Garda is investigating, and I think I know what it is investigating at this point, it needs to expedite this.
The Departments of Justice and Equality and Health and Children need to express the view that any current investigations or lingering investigations into this matter need to be dealt with quickly. That is all I will say.
Mr. Noel Waters [Secretary General]: We have no knowledge of the contents of the reports in question and it is something that we have not been directly involved in. We accept that it is desirable for the information contained in those reports to be put into the public domain as quickly as possible. It is a matter of great public interest and we are strongly supportive of that.
Our understanding is that there may be difficulties around publication because of the possible implications for any Garda investigations that might be going on. We have no role in the Department in criminal prosecutions. It is a matter for the Garda and the Director of Public Prosecutions. I will convey the Deputy's concerns to the Commissioner after the meeting that the matter is brought to finality as quickly as possible.