412. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on issues raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding legal gun ownership; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13300/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): In light of public safety concerns highlighted by An Garda Síochána, a joint Department of Justice and Equality/ An Garda Síochána Working Group was established by the Department of Justice and Equality to review firearms licensing. The report of this Working Group was published on 13 November 2014 and submissions on the report were sought from stakeholders and the public by 31 January 2015. The consultation process gave individuals and groups an opportunity to contribute to the development of firearms policy and legislation and will enable consideration to be given to the future direction of such legislation. The submissions received are currently being examined and incorporated into a report for me.
The Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality has also sought submissions and held hearings with interested parties in relation to the Working Party report and will publish its own report on the matter. I have already given a commitment that I will not make any decisions until I have met the key stakeholders, including the organisations who represent those who use firearms for sporting purposes. I intend to meet the key stakeholders in the near future.
I have asked the Garda Commissioner for a report in relation to the matters raised concerning statistics regarding licensed firearms and will write to the Deputy as soon as I have further information.