Dáil Éireann - Volume 523 - 05 October, 2000

Written Answers. - Garda Interviews.

23. Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current position regarding the taping or video taping of interviews conducted by members of An Garda Síochána in Garda stations in the context of criminal investigations; the stations in which such facilities currently exist; and his plans in this regard. [19433/00]

51. Ms McManus asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date with regard to the proposed installation of equipment to allow for the video taping of interviews with persons in Garda custody; the number of Garda stations currently equipped with such facilities; the total number of stations in which it is proposed to install the equipment; the proposed timeframe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20168/00]

132. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current position regarding the taping or video taping of interviews conducted by members of the Garda Síochána in Garda stations in the context of criminal investigations; the stations in which such facilities currently exist; and his plans in this regard. [20895/00]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): I propose to take Questions Nos. 23, 51 and 132 together.

At present only those Garda stations which took part in the pilot trials of electronic recording have facilities for audio-video recording Garda interviews with detained persons. There are six such stations as follows: Tallaght, Bridewell, Cork, Bridewell, Dublin, Portlaoise, Henry Street, Limerick, and Mill Street, Galway.

Following the recommendations of the steering committee which had been established to examine and report on the feasibility of electronically recording Garda interviews with suspects at Garda stations, the Government decided that a system of audio-video recording of such interviews should be introduced on a national basis.

An implementation committee is planning and overseeing the practical steps which must be taken in this regard. It is envisaged that facilities for audio-video recording will be installed in approximately 150 Garda stations and that more [1186] than 300 interview rooms in these stations will need to be refurbished and fitted to facilitate the audio-video equipment needed. Tenders have been received this week for the supply of the specialised audio-video recording equipment needed. These are being examined and an order will be placed shortly. A planned training programme for gardaí in the use of the new equipment and the procedures relating thereto also needs to be undertaken.

I understand that arrangements in relation to all of these matters are well advanced. At the outset, the aim is to have sufficient stations so equipped in all Garda divisions to give broad national coverage as soon as is practical. I would hope that this would be achieved early next year.