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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 21 January, 2020

TD waits five months for an answer to a question, gets sent it the day he makes a complaint

The Department of Justice says they sent the figures on Garda strength before Niall Collins complained.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL’S JUSTICE spokesperson Niall Collins has made a complaint to the Ceann Comhairle after waiting five months to be told how many gardaí were in individual stations for the last five years.

However, the Department of Justice says that the information was sent out today, before Collins lodged his complaint with Sean Barrett.

Collins asked Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald for the figures on 18 December last year.

At the time, he was told that the Garda Commissioner had the details of the figures in a spreadsheet and that they would be sent to him.

By today, 123 days later, Collins had yet to receive the figures, prompting him to write to the Ceann Comhairle, asking him to direct Fitzgerald to hand them over.

He accused Fitzgerald of playing politics with the figures.

“After five months of trying to get basic information about the strength of our Garda force in each area of the country, I am now left with no choice but to go around the Minister and complain to the Ceann Comhairle.

“Minister Fitzgerald has this information on her desk. She is putting politics before the public interest by keeping it to herself.”

A Department of Justice spokesperson this afternoon told that the figures had actually been sent this morning, before the complaint had been made.

Collins says that may be the case, but he has not seen the figures yet.

“If they sent them by post, I haven’t got them yet.”

He says that he will not pursue the complaint if he has received the figures.

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