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Question

423. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding incorrect and misleading information; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1073/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I refer the Deputy to the conclusions of the Supreme Court in the case referred to by him. The Court noted that the power conferred by section 3 of the Firearms Act 1925 on Garda Superintendents to grant firearms certificates is one of a wide range of powers in various areas conferred by legislation. In this regard, reference was made to the powers conferred on An Garda Síochána under the Betting Act 1931, the Public Dance Halls Act 1935, the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 and the Intoxicating Liquor Acts.
The Court concluded as follows:
"One is entitled to assume that in all such instances the Oireachtas decided that the power should be exercised by a senior garda officer in a particular locality for what seemed to them (the Oireachtas) good reasons, but they would, of course, have been perfectly entitled to confer the power in question on another body, such as a court of local and limited jurisdiction, a local authority or some other state agency.
It follows, in my view, that the learned High Court Judge was correct in holding that the power conferred on garda superintendents by s.2 of the 1925 Act was conferred on him as a persona designata and that, accordingly, it vested in him a discretion which he could not abdicate to anyone else. Accordingly, while he can only exercise that discretion within any relevant statutory limitations, he cannot be required to exercise it in any particular manner by any other body or authority."