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Written Answers - Peace Commissioners

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 195.  Deputy Eric Byrne Information on Eric J. Byrne Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  further to Parliamentary Question No. 645 of 11 January 2012, the qualifications and criteria required to obtain the position of peace commissioner; the duties and functions of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3030/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Office of Peace Commissioner is an honorary appointment under section 88 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924 for which there is no remuneration or compensation by way of fees or expenses for their services. An application for appointment may be submitted by a person who is interested in obtaining an appointment, or a third party may submit a nomination in respect of a person considered suitable for appointment. Nominations are generally received from public representatives. A local Garda Superintendent can also request an appointment in a particular area in the public interest.

There is no qualifying examination involved but appointees are required to be of good character and they are usually well established in the local community. Persons who are members of professions or employed in occupations which engage in legal work or related activities and members of the clergy are, as a matter of practice, not appointed because of their occupation. Civil servants are usually only appointed where the performance of their official duties requires an appointment (i.e. ex-officio). Persons convicted of serious offences are considered unsuitable for appointment.

At present, the powers and duties of a Peace Commissioner are mainly:

the taking of statutory declarations;

witnessing signatures on documents, if that is required by various authorities;

signing certificates and orders under various Acts; and

[371] signing search warrants for An Garda Síochána.

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