1. The Minister for Justice abused his position of power by disclosing on national TV the details of a Garda discretionary decision
2. That the Minister did so to make a political point because the individual concerned was a politician is quite frankly, disgraceful.
4. I’m going to explain why Section 4 of the Standards in Public Office Commission Act is relevant for a complaint.
5. Any person can make a complaint to Standards Commission where he considers that an office holder/Minister may have done a “specified act”
6. Section 4(1): Specified act is “the circumstances of which are, such as to be inconsistent with the proper performance by the specified..
7. “..person of the functions of the office or position by reference to which he or she is such a person or with the maintenance of…
8. “…confidence in such performance by the general public, and the matter is one of significant public importance.”
9. More information on complaints to the Standards Commission in this regard can be found here
10. To my mind, the Minister for Justice contravened section 1.5 of the Code of Conduct for Office Holders.
11. Ministers should “act in good faith with impartiality… respect confidences entrusted to them in the course of their official duties.”
12. Apart from concerns under section 4 of the Ethics Act and the Code of Conduct for Office Holders, there are Data Protection concerns.
13. “The Act places serious responsibilities on every employee of An Garda Síochána not to disclose data…”
14. “…in relation to any individual to any other individual who is not entitled by law to receive it.”
15. What confidence can the public have in the justice system if the Minister of Justice decides to disclose information whenever he likes?
16. Section 41 of 2005 Garda Act stipulates the information the Garda Commissioner has a duty to give to the Minister
17. (i) preservation of peace & public order, (ii) protection of life and property, and (iii) the protection of the security of the State;
18. In my humble opinion, an individual on a mobile phone doesn’t come under those categories of a duty to report by the Garda Commissioner.
For more click here.
Previously: How Did He Know?
(Elaine Byrne / Flickr)