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Written Answers. - Garda Investigations.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 37. Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin Information on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin Zoom on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  the number of items of evidence awaiting examination at the Forensic Science Laboratory at the latest date for which figures are available; the number of prosecutions awaiting examination of items of evidence at the laboratory; the steps being taken to address the serious shortage of staff at the laboratory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18505/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell The number of cases on hand at the Forensic Science Laboratory on 15 October 2002 was 11,825. In relation to the number of prosecutions awaiting examination of items of evidence at the laboratory, I am advised that the [1151] Garda does not maintain a record of such cases in the format requested by the Deputy and that the information could only be compiled by the commitment of a significant amount of Garda time and resources, which the Deputy will appreciate would not be justified. However, I can inform the Deputy that the Forensic Science Laboratory operates a system whereby cases are prioritised on request from the Garda Síochána and in this context no prosecutions have been lost.

As regards staffing, the position is that additional posts have been sanctioned at scientific, technical and administrative level in the laboratory. Arrangements have been made with the Civil Service Commission for the filling of these posts as a matter of urgency.


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