Saturday 20 December 2014

Varadkar: 'Frances Fitzgerald needs support as new Justice Minister'

Published 12/05/2014 | 14:50

Leo Varadkar
Newly appointed Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has called for everyone in government to support the new Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

“The key thing now for everyone in Government is to be fully behind Frances Fitzgerald in doing what she has to do, which is to reform the criminal justice system and have that open competition for the new Garda Commissioner and establish the new independent Garda Authority,” he said, adding, “She has a huge amount on her plate and she deserves and has the support of everyone in Government.”

He said that he has had no discussions yet with his colleagues in Cabinet about his statement at the weekend that the Department of Justice “is not fit for purpose”, following the revelations in the Guerin Report which was published on Friday. “We had a ministerial level meeting this morning on road safety, and Minister Fitzgerald was present, but the entire focus of that meeting was on road safety and what we can do to improve the situation,” he said. “There hasn’t been any discussion on it, but we have a Cabinet meeting tomorrow and I imagine justice issues will be discussed at that”.

Commenting on the concerns expressed earlier today by the Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes that government agencies, such the Department of Social Protection, the HSE and the Gardai have “scant regard” for data protection he said, “I think more and more that people understand that there’s a lot of data out there, a lot of information being collected about people, and it’s important that the government and government agencies do all that they can that’s reasonable to protect people’s privacy.”

He added: “But at the same time it’s important that government agencies have access to data so that they can make decisions to target resources which benefit people at the end of the day as well.”

Minister Varadkar was speaking at the launch of the Triathlon Ireland national series which is being sponsored by Vodafone this year.

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