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Other Questions. - Parole Board Report.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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[1113]

 8. Mr. Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  the arrangements he has made to have the report from the parole board on a person (details supplied) whom he previously represented in court, considered by another member of the Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18516/02]

Mr. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell The person referred to by the Deputy has been serving a life sentence for murder since January 1983. His case was considered by the interim parole board in July 2002. The board's recommendation in the case was subsequently received in my office on 13 August 2002.

As acknowledged very fairly by the Deputy in his question, I have publicly expressed my wish to refer the interim parole board's recommendation in this case to another member of Government for consideration, arising from the fact that I had previous dealings in the matter. I recently sought the advice of the Attorney General on the practical arrangements to give effect to this. The advice of the Attorney General is now to hand and I hope to come to a decision on the most appropriate arrangements in the near future, following consultation with my colleagues in Government.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Has the Minister yet identified the colleague who will make this decision, and can he tell the House when the decision is likely to be made?

Mr. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell I have three options, one of which would be to use powers under the Ministers and Secretaries Act to attempt to transfer the individual function to another person. An alternative mode of dealing with it would be to avail of one of my absences from the State, in which case I would transfer all my functions to another member of the Government and request that the matter be dealt with during that period.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I wonder if that practice was ever used for passports in the past?

Mr. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell I do not think so. A third possibility is that I would bring the matter to Cabinet and absent myself from the particular discussion, for reasons that are obvious. I have not made up my mind which is the appropriate way to go about it but in the fullness of time when a decision is made as to how it will be done, the House will be informed as to which of the three methods was employed.


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