Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Declarations of Financial Interests.

Wednesday, 8 February 1995

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 448 No. 7

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[1705]

  2.  Miss Harney  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   asked the Taoiseach  Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton   if each Minister of State has made a declaration of financial interests; and if not, if he will be requiring them to do so. [2668/95]

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  All Ministers of State have furnished me with a declaration of their financial interests.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Is the Taoiseach satisfied that there is no conflict of interest between any holdings that Ministers of State might have in private companies and the job they are expected to do on behalf of the Government?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I do not believe there is, but I will review the declarations closely from that point of view. I received some of the declarations recently and I will examine them to satisfy myself that there is no conflict of interest.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Will the Taoiseach arrange to leak the information?

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Details in regard to Cabinet Ministers with the exception of two were published in a Sunday newspaper. Is it the intention to publish details of the declarations made by Ministers of State?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Any publication of their interests by Ministers has been on an individual basis and has been their own decision in response to queries from a particular newspaper. No obligation has been placed on any officeholder to publish a statement of their interests on a centralised basis. The declarations I have received are not in a form suitable for publication because some of the information provided deals with interests of third parties such as spouses and other relatives. I do not believe it was envisaged at any stage that such information would be published, even under the Ethics in Public Office Bill. The decision I have taken, [1706] which I outlined in response to a previous question by the Deputy in regard to Cabinet Ministers, will also apply to Ministers of State. Government members will publish all information promptly, in full compliance with the Ethics in Public Office Bill when it becomes law, having been finalised by both Houses of the Oireachtas.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  Is the Taoiseach satisfied in the case of Ministers of State, whose duties include a complexity of issues in various Departments, that the probity will attach to each set of duties?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I hope so.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  Will he ensure that that happens in the case of the particular Ministers of State whose brief transcends other Departments?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I think that problems of conflict of interest can arise whether one has a brief that transcends one or more Departments. The general considerations apply in all cases. It would be my intention to ensure that no conflict of interest arises.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Is it the case that some Ministers of State appointed in December 1994 only made the declaration since Wednesday of last week?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I do not have the dates of the declarations. If the Deputy wishes to table a question on that matter I can have it examined. All I can say is that all the requisite information has been supplied to me.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Is it the case that one or two Ministers of State gave him the information during the past couple of days?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I would have to go back over the files to satisfy myself on that issue. The question the Deputy asked was whether they had made a declaration. The answer is “yes”.


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