Following the completion of the trial of Detective Sergeant John White and his acquittal today, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Michael McDowell T.D., is to return to the High Court as a matter of urgency to seek a direction regarding the publication of the latest reports of the Morris Tribunal into complaints concerning certain Gardaí in the Donegal Division.
The reports concern the Tribunal's terms of reference (d) the circumstances surrounding the arrest and detention of Mark McConnell on 1st October, 1998 and Michael Peoples on 6th May, 1999; (g) allegations relating to the Garda investigation of an arson attack on property situated on the site of the telecommunications mast at Ardara, County Donegal in October/November 1996 and (i) the circumstances surrounding the arrest and detention of seven persons at Burnfoot, County Donegal on 23rd May, 1998 and the investigation relating thereto.
The reports were received on 10 May but, because of a danger of possible prejudice to the criminal trial, the Minister applied to the High Court for directions regarding their publication in accordance with the provisions of the Instrument establishing the Tribunal and section 3 of the Tribunal of Inquiry (Evidence) (Amendment) Act, 2002. The matter came before the President of the High Court on 25 May who ordered that publication be prohibited until further Order of the Court directs. Now that the criminal trial has taken place it is appropriate to re-apply to the Court.
Subject to the direction of the Court and the views of the Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions, it is the Minister's intention to lay the reports before both Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as possible.
27 July 2006.