No meaningful explanation for failure to search emails

28 March 2018

Labour TD for Tipperary Alan Kelly has said that it is not acceptable that no meaningful explanation has been provided by the Department of Justice for the failure to search the emails of the Policing Division for material that might be relevant to the Disclosures Tribunal, and further highlights the dysfunction of the Department.

This follows the publication late on Tuesday night of the review by Senior Council Michael Collins into how the Department of Justice responded to the terms of reference of the Disclosures Tribunal.

Deputy Kelly said:
“I have concerns about the lack of a meaningful explanation for the failure to search emails in the Department that might be relevant to the Tribunal. This is disturbing and raises further questions for the Department in how it responds to other requests for information including the fact that senior Departmental management never discuused their disclosures to the tirbunal, which is unbelievable.

“The information that eventually came to light was only published after a long series of parliamentary questions, that were not correctly answered in the first instance.

“That a Department has no clear system in place for the filing and storage of emails is extraordinary and raises questions about how for example, freedom of information requests for dealt with.

“I am surprise that the Terms of Reference that were drawn up the Department itself were not more closely examined by senior officials in the Department to ensure they were complied with, and that if Dáil questions had not been asked the information would never have come to light.

“The important May 15th emails weren’t properly filed or disclosed ‘for reasons that are unclear’ which meant that this critical communication wasn’t easily found nor brought to light immediatley when queried by parliamentary question.

“Lessons must be learned from this debacle if we are to have a properly functioning Department, but I am still concerned that the original events showed the use of personal email accounts for sensitive public business in the policing and security fields, and that this raises further questions about how the Department functions.”

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