Dáil Éireann - Volume 641 - 08 November, 2007

Written Answers. - Garda Communications.

Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the situation regarding Gardaí supplying information to journalists on crime scenes and the impact these statements have on the victims families; if these families have ways of redress; and if he will clarify the phrase Gardaí sources. [27851/07]

  Deputy Brian Lenihan: I am informed by the Garda authorities that it is the policy of An Garda Síochána that the overall responsibility for releasing information to the media rests with the Garda Press and Public Relations Office and members of An Garda Síochána are prohibited, except in specified circumstances, and without the authority of the Commissioner, from communicating either directly or indirectly with the media or furnishing to the media any matter or thing whatsoever in connection with the investigation of crime, the administration of the service, or any matter which may have come to the member’s knowledge in the course of official duties.

Section 62 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005 makes it a criminal offence for members of An Garda Síochána and other specified individuals to disclose certain information obtained in the course of their duties, except as provided for in the Act. This provision is in addition to, and not in substitution for, the provisions of the Official Secrets Act, 1963.

If a member of the public feels that they have not been dealt with appropriately by members of An Garda Síochána, they may make a complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission [576] in accordance with the terms of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. The phrase “Gardaí sources” does not originate from me or my Department.