Dáil Éireann - Volume 427 - 02 March, 1993

Written Answers. - Newspaper Report.

88. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice if she has inquired of the Garda Authorities as to the accuracy of a report in The Sunday Tribune of 14 February 1993, that Garda headquarters issued to a person (details supplied) a certificate of good character some time after the most serious questions had been raised in court and in the public media about the serious difficulties in his professional life, and after he had left the jurisdiction of the State; whether the application for the certificate was made by the person from an address in London; and the reason, if the application was made to Cabinteely Garda Station, the certificate was issued by Garda headquarters.

Minister for Justice (Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn): It is not the practice of the Minister for Justice to comment on media statements regarding an individual's dealings with the Garda Síochána.

In order to clarify the matter of Garda certificates of character I should point out that the Garda authorities do not provide certificates of good character (as the question states). They do, however, on occasion, provide certificates to individuals who apply for them, which merely [213] state whether the applicant has or has not had convictions recorded against him.

These certificates are in standard form and are, despite the limited nature of what they actually certify, entitled “Certificates of Character”.

Where there are convictions recorded against the applicant these are listed on the certificate. Since the certificates in question are requested by, and provided to, the applicants themselves, there is no question of unauthorised disclosure of criminal convictions.