Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shall we tell the Minister?

Dail Eireann (Irish lower house), 3 October 2006, written answers to questions --

Garda Communications. 224. Mr. Gregory asked the Tanaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the introduction of the recording of all telephone calls to Garda stations and the replies given in the interests of greater efficiency and public confidence in the Garda; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30575/06] 

Tanaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): An Garda Siochana currently records Garda radio traffic and emergency 112/999 calls. An Garda Siochana depends on the public to provide information to assist in preventing and detecting crime and such information is provided on a confidential basis, often by telephone. Prisoners detained in custody in Garda Stations are entitled to telephone their family and their legal representatives and such calls are made in private. I am not aware of any plans to record all telephone calls to Garda stations.

This matters because of current revelations in Ireland about recording of telephone calls to and from police stations.

Who told Michael McDowell, former Minister for Justice, in 2006 that calls to police stations were private? Anyone calling for the head of the current minister, Alan Shatter, over the affair might want to extend their curiosity to his predecessors.

UPDATE: The Irish Times has a similar story and a reputable paper like that would give the credit if they read it here first, right?