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Question

462. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans for a compensation scheme for those persons who may be unable in the future to obtain licences for currently legally held firearms following the introduction of any forthcoming firearms licensing legislation. [1499/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): In light of public safety concerns highlighted by An Garda Síochána and difficulties in the interpretation of the legislation expressed by members of the judiciary, a joint Department of Justice and Equality / An Garda Síochána Working Group was established by my Department to review firearms licensing. The Report of this Working Group was published on 13 November and submissions on the Report have been sought from stakeholders and the public by 31 January 2015.
The issue of compensation is dealt with at Section 13 of the Report. The report states that the Courts have held that the possession of a firearm is not a right but a privilege. The Courts have in the past taken the view that what is in the State’s gift cannot be required to be compensated if it is withdrawn.
I do not wish to elaborate any further at this stage, prior to receipt and consideration by me of submissions made. I have already given a commitment that I will not make any final decisions until I have had the opportunity to consider all the submissions which are made on the Review Report and I have met the key stakeholders.