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Saturday 17 February 2018

Civilian managers for Gardaí as commission established

Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Three senior civilian managers are being recruited by the Gardaí as part of a bid to strengthen the capacity of the management of the force, the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has said.

The Government has also published draft terms of reference of the commission that will examine the operations of the garda force.

Minister Fizgerald made remarks that civilians were being recruited to the higher ranks as the Dáil debated Fianna Fáil's motion calling on the Government to request that the Policing Authority assess Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's ability to restore confidence in the police service.

The motion was tabled in the wake of the controversy over the almost one million bogus breath tests recorded by gardaí and the more than 14,000 wrongful convictions in relation to traffic offences.

The Dáil will today debate Sinn Féin's motion calling on the government to remove the Garda Commissioner from her role.

The government is opposing both Private Members Bills.

Read more: Tanaiste who was 'too busy' to attend garda conference spends three hours at FG branch meeting

Ms Fitzgerald said the Policing Authority is investigating the issues surrounding the breath tests and the wrongful convictions.

She said the capacity of senior management needs to be strengthened and pointed to the recruitment campaign for the three civilian roles: director of strategy and transformation; director of legal and compliance; and chief information officer.

Ms Fitzgerald restated the Government's confidence in Ms O'Sullivan. She said she believes Fianna Fáil's motion risks interfering with the independence of the Policing Authority.

Earlier, the Tánaiste published the draft terms of reference of the "root and branch" review of the Gardaí.

The Cabinet agreed to establish the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, which will comprise of a panel including international experts.

Read more: 'It dents your confidence' - Garda managers say scandals are making it harder to do job

It's understood there is to be a public element to its work. There is to be a "thorough review" of all aspects of policing including management, recruitment, training and culture and ethos. The draft terms are being presented to the Opposition for consultation.

The draft terms published by the Government cover a wide brief.

The terms state that a complete review is needed of the Garda force that will encompass all the functions. It outlines that there are concerns about the accountability, leadership, management capacity, and the culture and ethos of the Gardaí.

The broad ranging terms are expected to include agencies such as the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, the Police Authority and the Department of Justice in their interactions with the Gardaí.

Irish Independent

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