Public confidence in gardai and GSOC 'weakened' by controversy - Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said public confidence in An Garda Siochana and in its oversight body, GSOC, have been "weakened" by the recent controversy.
In his key-note address to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis last night at the RDS in Dublin, Mr Kenny said that the bugging scandal at the offices of the Garda Ombudsman Commission and the Maurice McCabe controversy have damaged both institutions.
"Public confidence in our justice system is critical. In recent weeks, a number of developments have served to weaken that confidence both in our police force, and the body tasked to oversee it," he said.
Mr Kenny said his Government have already taken steps to restore that lost confidence in both institutions.
He stressed that Fine Gael in Government "will not allow these important institutions to be undermined in the eyes of the Irish people".
He said that "any further action that is recommended will be taken".
"That means having a Garda force that commands the respect of the public. That means having an Ombudsman Commission with the right structures to provide effective and independent oversight," he said.
He told delegates that the wellbeing of the Irish people depends also on justice and security within the State.
He also lashed at opposition leaders who he accused of "playing politics" with the serious issues.
He said they "should hang their heads in shame".
Mr Kenny also paid tribute to the sacrifices made by the Irish people but said his Government had worked "night and day" to fix the economy.
"Ireland is moving in the right direction, but I acknowledge that many people do not yet feel any improvement in their daily lives," he said.
"You’ve made huge sacrifices over the last three years. Let me tell you those sacrifices won’t be wasted," he added.
Mr Kenny said the Government is on track to get the rate of unemployment down below 10 per cent by 2016.
"That’s why the main target of our economic plan is to add 100,000 full-time jobs to the economy in the lifetime of this Government, and, by 2020, to replace all of the 330,000 jobs lost during the economic crisis," he said.
In the coming weeks, legislation will be published to establish the €6 billion Strategic Investment Fund, he said. "We are also concluding an agreement with Germany to secure significant new funding for Irish businesses from the German state bank KfW," he added.
Mr Kenny said the Government hopes that 25,000 extra new jobs can be created in the agri-food sector in the next seven years, and it is a major priority for Government.