Wednesday 24 January 2018

AG is not delaying report on docklands -- Cowen

Patricia McDonagh

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen yesterday rejected claims the Attorney General is delaying the publication of a report into the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA).

Mr Cowen insisted the Attorney General provided his advice without "fear or favour" and that his integrity would not be compromised.

The comments came in the wake of claims by former Green Party senator Deirdre de Burca that Environment Minister John Gormley was delaying the publication of a report on the controversial authority.

Ms de Burca said the Green leader delayed publishing the report on controversial planning at the authority because it would cause "serious discomfort" for Fianna Fail.

However, Mr Gormley said he was awaiting advice from the Attorney General before making the report public.

Yesterday, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore pointed out that the special adviser in the Attorney General's office, Francis Kieran, attended the weekly government programme managers and senior political advisers' meetings -- which are well known for their political troubleshooting role.

Difficulty

He queried if a report by Mr Gormley on the DDDA was likely to be politically troublesome for a minister or ministers, would the political difficulty be flagged to the Attorney General's adviser.

If so, this would compromise the independent role of the office in providing legal advice to the Government, he said.

"There is no question whatever of the integrity of the Attorney General being compromised in any way," Mr Cowen replied.

"He gives his advice without fear or favour and is a person of impeccable credentials. I am disabusing Deputy Gilmore of the idea that the Attorney General is compromised or undermined by reason of the fact he gives his advice without fear or favour

"The purpose of the assistant to the Attorney General is, as I stated earlier, to assist him in all of the contacts between departments. There is no way his legal independence is compromised or undermined in any way, and neither would he contemplate it for a moment."

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny queried whether the delay in producing the report came from the fact the AG did not have sufficient staff to deal with queries to its office.

Irish Independent

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