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Question

303. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice the number of commissions of investigation currently ongoing; the duration of each commission of investigation; the deadline for each commission of investigation; and the actual and projected cost of each commission of investigation. [54098/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): As the Deputy may be aware, commissions of investigation are carried out pursuant to the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004. That Act provides for a Commission to be established by Government Order. Before making the Order, a draft must be laid before each House and a resolution approving the draft passed by both Houses.
A tribunal of inquiry is an inquiry established by Statutory Instrument made by a Minister under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921, following resolutions passed by both Houses.
The following table sets out the information requested by the Deputy in relation to ongoing tribunals of inquiry and commissions of investigation established under the legislation listed above.

Tribunal of Inquiry and Commission of Investigation Disclosures Tribunal Hickson Commission of Investigation*
The duration of each commission of investigation Established in 2017 Established in 2018
Deadline As Tribunals are independent in the performance of their function, it would be not appropriate for the Government to set a timeline/deadline for the work being undertaken. Terms of reference were issued to Cabinet in May 2018. It was estimated that the Commission would run for up to a year. This is ongoing.
Costs (€,000) 14,211 1,703
Projected costs The original estimated cost of €2.917 million (administrative and legal costs only) was later revised to €4.4m (including administrative, legal costs and third party costs). These revised costs were brought to Cabinet on 18 July 2017, noting that this was an estimate only and would depend on the actual work undertaken by the Tribunal, which is fully independent in the performance of its functions. Estimated cost of Commission expenditure was €1.3 million.
*Judge Hickson retired this year and has been replaced by Judge Michael White.