THE MINISTER FOR Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, has today said that he will put motions before the Dáil and Seanad in order to extend the deadline for the Smithwick Tribunal to 31 July, 2013.
The news comes just days after Justice Peter Smithwick wrote to the Clerk of the Dáil to request an extension to the tribunal. The current deadline is 31 October.
The tribunal, which is looking into whether there was Garda collusion in the death of two RUC officers in 1989, had previously suffered delays due to the calling of additional witnesses.
It was delayed again further when a vital witness fell ill.
In a statement released today, Shatter said:
Not least for the sake of the families of the late Chief Superintendent Breen and Superintendent Buchanan, we have been anxious that the Tribunal complete its work as quickly as possible.
But it is also important that the work of the Tribunal is completed fully and it is clear, because of the circumstances which have arisen, as outlined by the Chairman, that it is necessary to extend the deadline for the Tribunal to complete its work.
Accordingly, I will shortly put before the Dáil and Seanad motions to extend the conclusion date for the Tribunal to 31 July, 2013. In line with the approach which I have taken to ensure that the Oireachtas is fully informed by the Tribunal of progress in its work, the motions will also require the Tribunal to submit interim reports by 31 January, 2013 and again by 30 April, 2013.
The tribunal began conducting its enquiries in early 2006 and began its public hearings in June of last year.