Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan TD, has said that the recently published Collins Report reveals elements of poor performance in the Department of Justice’s response to the Charleton Tribunal’s request for documents.
The Deputy was commenting following last night’s publication of the Collins Report which examined the practices and procedures employed by the Department of Justice and Equality in response to requests for documents from the Disclosures Tribunal chaired by Supreme Court Judge the Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Charleton.
He said, “This report exposes reveals inefficiency and mismanagement in the Department of Justice and Equality.
“It is unsatisfactory to learn that the search processes employed to identify documents were found to have been ad hoc and that there was no systematic process for filing emails.
The Department’s clear failure to search for documents in the email accounts of officials in the Policing Division or senior officials in the Department or the Secretary General’s office is poor practice and resulted in documents relevant to the tribunals inquiries being overlooked.
“In this day and age, the wide and accessible use of email as a means of communication, particularly within a workplace, means it is astonishing that the Department’s trawl of documents did not include these email accounts.”
He added “Given that the Charleton Tribunal is specifically charged with examining contact between members of An Garda Síochána and the Department in relation to the issues arising from the terms of reference, I am surprised that officials working with the Policing Division of the Department did not consider that a part of the focus of the Tribunal’s investigations was on the Department.
“It is difficult to comprehend how no meaningful explanation has been provided for the failure to search email accounts.
“The detailed matters which have arisen in connection with the allegations made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe had been subjected to three reviews prior to the Charleton Tribunal.
“It is therefore obvious that the Minister and his Department should have recognised the severity and importance of the request, yet no oversight was exercised in the department in relation to its interaction with the Tribunal,” concluded Deputy O’Callaghan.