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Thursday 22 June 2017

Garda Commissioner: Stats on homicide and domestic violence being examined

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan

Niall O'Connor and Philip Ryan

GARDA Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has confirmed that her force is reviewing the “classification” of its figures relating to a series of incidents, including homicides and domestic violence.

But she said the inflation of breath test figures by members of the force was never done in order to boost overtime.

In a statement to the Oireachtas Justice committee, Ms O’Sullivan said the results of breath testing was “neither used as a performance indicator nor justification for incurring overtime”.

But Ms O’Sullivan indicated that the 937,000 fake test figures could rise after an internal garda review into the issue has concluded.

And the garda chief admitted that a review is now underway into the classification of other “incidents”, including domestic violence figures and homicides.

“In light of the issues raised by the Garda Inspectorate and the Central Statistics Office, a Working Group has been established to oversee data quality management and, at the time of writing, An Garda Siochana is reviewing the classification of incidents including domestic violence.”

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan arrives at the AGSI conference in the INEC, Killarney, yesterday. Photo: Don MacMonagle
Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan arrives at the AGSI conference in the INEC, Killarney, yesterday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Ms O’Sullivan made the omission in response to 25 questions by members of the justice committee. A copy of her reply has been obtained by Independent.ie.

She told the committee that a decision to arrange a press conference last month, at which the scale of the controversy was revealed, was taken following communication with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). She said it was an “oversight” that the Policing Authority was not informed sooner.

In her report, Ms O’Sullivan said that an examination into breath test figures in the South region was prompted by an anonymous letter sent from a garda reserve in April 2014.

She says that in March 2015, the Assistant Commissioner in Traffic directed that each division and district should ensure they have mechanisms in place to monitor checkpoints.

She said the contents of the letter from the reserve were then discussed at a management meeting the following month.

Ms O’Sullivan said her office and the Department of Justice were informed in June 2016 that a national audit was underway.

Further data in relation to the issue was provided by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) last month, following a formal request.

The statement from the Commissioner says a report in the Irish Times on 20 February 2017 did not influence the force’s decision to contact the MBRS.

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