Dáil Éireann - Volume 318 - 27 February, 1980
Written Answers. - Bail and Right to Silence Legislation.
Mr. Keating Mr. Keating
55. Mr. Keating asked the Minister for Justice whether he proposes to introduce legislation in respect of bail and the right to silence or other similar issues, as indicated by him recently.
Minister for Justice (Mr. G. Collins) Gerard Collins
Minister for Justice (Mr. G. Collins): The question suggests that I recently indicated that I proposed to introduce legislation on certain issues. This suggestion is in line with a reported public statement by the Deputy in which he referred critically, and apparently at some length, to alleged attempts by the Government to restrict bail although, according to him, the garda had never advocated such a change.
The Deputy is misinformed. It is public knowledge that there is a widespread view in the Garda Síochaána that bail laws are so liberal as to create serious problems and that those laws ought to be changed. Nevertheless, contrary to what the Deputy appears to think, the only Government decision that bail ought to be restricted was a decision taken by the National Coalition Government. I am not saying that that decision was right or that it was wrong, but only that it was in fact taken and publicly announced.  Its implementation would have involved a constitutional referendum.
This Government have made no such decision and I have made no statement suggesting that such a decision is likely to be made either in the near future or at all, though obviously I do not exclude the possibility that such a decision may be made some time.
Neither did any recent comment of mine express any view about rights of silence and in fact expressions such as “the right of silence” are used by different people in different ways and, even if asked, I would not have been prepared to express views on the matter. Similarly, I could not agree to make any comment now as to what proposal, if any, I may put to the Government in that regard nor could I anticipate what decision the Government may make in due course.
Dáil Éireann 318 Written Answers. Bail and Right to Silence Legislation.