Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice if she plans to ensure that the Courts Service is permitted to release photographs of persons convicted of murder and other serious offences; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49047/21]
357. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice the public policy reason for the Courts Service not publishing the names of persons convicted of murder and other serious offences after the conclusion of criminal trials; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49048/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 356 and 357 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, management of the courts is the responsibility of the judiciary and Courts Service, which are independent in exercising their functions under the Courts Service Act 1998, as well as the separation of powers in the Constitution. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made with the Courts Service who have informed me that they do not publish the name of anybody convicted of a crime. Neither do they take or hold photographs of any defendant.
More generally, the position in respect of the trial of criminal offences in Ireland is that justice must be administered in public in accordance with the Constitution. This is subject to certain statutory provisions that prohibit the reporting of the identification of an accused person or a convicted person, where, for example, that person is a minor or where the publication of their identity could lead to the identification of a victim, usually a minor but also adult victims in respect of certain offences.
Where there is no order of prohibition in place, the media can and do report on murder and serious crimes, including by way of naming the convicted person. The Courts Service has maintained access to the courts for the media at all times, including throughout the pandemic. Question No. 357 answered with Question No. 356.