GARDA DISPUTE

 

Sir, - A report by your Security Correspondent, Jim Cusack (March 5th), contained certain inaccuracies affecting the Department of Justice and it is important that they be corrected ("Agreement announced between Garda groups appears premature").

First of all, it is wrong to say that "an assurance" was given by the Department of Justice to Mr Peter Cassells that the GRA assistant general secretary, Mr P. J. Stone, "was prepared to resign". While the department did have discussions with Mr Cassells - details of which have subsequently been communicated to Mr Stone - no assurance of the kind suggested was given to anybody by the department. Mr Stone's position within the GRA is a matter between him and that organisation.

Secondly, the "agreement announced" did not originate in the Department of Justice. The press release announcing agreement emanated from the parties to the settlement talks on February 21st (as reported on February 22nd) by your Drugs and Crime Correspondent, John Maher - "Rival Garda groups settle differences"). The department was not represented at those talks and had no prior notice that any such announcement was about to be made. Yours, etc.,

Press officer,

Office of the

Minister for Justice,

Dublin.