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 Header Item Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil
 Header Item Questions on Promised Legislation

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 952 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney] I suggest that we await the outcome of these inquiries before there is any further comment on the particular issues they are examining.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace It is outrageous that they might use international terrorism to defend the present Garda Commissioner. The house that is An Garda Síochána is falling down around her ears. While scandals, which can only be described as white collar crime, continue to escalate around Templemore, at the other end of the scale the plot thickens around the Garda involvement in the heroin trade in Athlone. On 19 May 2017, Judge Keenan Johnson, presiding in the Circuit Court, expressed his displeasure, annoyance and frustration at being seriously misled by a garda. The judge outlined in open court that on 7 June 2016, while sentencing a woman on drug offences committed on 2 June 2015, a garda purposely and deliberately misled the court. This is the same drugs operation in which other gardaí have been found to have had an involvement as a result of the protected disclosure of Garda Nick Keogh three years ago. Despite this, no one has been arrested or charged three years later. Why? It is because some of Nóirín's inner circle are being protected. This is an organisation in crisis. Will the Tánaiste allow this shambles to be her legacy?

The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As I have often stated, the Deputy comes into the House repeatedly and speaks about individual cases, but I cannot comment on individual cases. However, I can ensure the Garda has the resources to deal with the issues that the Deputy has outlined-----

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace But it is not.

The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney -----to conduct appropriate investigations and to get on with the operational work it has to do.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace Three years.

The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Let me be clear. At the very beginning, I indicated my concern at the findings of the interim internal audit report relating to the financial procedures in the Garda College in Templemore. It paints a disturbing picture of the way in which the college's finances were run. In short, it found that financial controls that cannot be stood over were in place there. That is the reality of the situation going right back. Action was not taken in 2008. In respect of 2009, we see reports in the newspapers today about internal inquiries at that time. We need to understand why that action was not taken at that time to deal with the issues emerging and which the Garda Commissioner has dealt with and on which she has taken action. In the most recent report she has outlined to me how the vast majority of the various recommendations in the interim draft report relating to Templemore have been implemented.

Business of Dáil

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty It is proposed, pursuant to Standing Order 27E(8), to take statements re the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement today immediately after the weekly divisions and to conclude within one hour and 40 minutes. The statements, which will be confined to a Minister or Minister of State and the main spokespersons for the parties or groups or a Member nominated in their stead, shall not exceed ten minutes in each case and Members are allowed to share time. The statements shall be followed by a question and answer session which will not exceed 20 minutes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is that agreed? Agreed.

Questions on Promised Legislation

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen There is a commitment in the programme for Government to support the development of the agriculture and food sector. Every Deputy supports that aspiration, no more than we support the aspiration to look after everyone who gets up early in the morning, let alone those who cannot find a place to put their heads at night. The latest reports citing farming as the occupation with the highest risks for families is something that cannot be ignored by Government. The findings published by the ESRI earlier this week of the analysis of the 2013 Health and Safety Authority's survey on risk-taking and accidents on Irish farms outline how the fatality rate for farming is nearly ten times that of other occupations in the 2009 to 2015 period. It is a startling figure and one that proves a lot more action is needed. There were 11 fatalities last year alone and 138 people died in farm accidents during the past seven years. Will the Tánaiste confirm to the House that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation have agreed to meet to discuss this issue?

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