Sunday 19 November 2017

Justice Minister warns gardaí he wants 'all the skeletons out of all the cupboards'

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan was speaking at a passing out ceremony in Templemore

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan with Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin at the passing out ceremony of probationer Gardaí at the Garda College, Templemore this morning.
Pic:Mark Condren
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan with Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin at the passing out ceremony of probationer Gardaí at the Garda College, Templemore this morning. Pic:Mark Condren
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan warned that he wants to see "all the skeletons out of all of the cupboards" in terms of Garda scandals and controversies.

His warning came as Acting Garda Commissioner Donal O'Cualain and Deputy Commissioner John Twomey confirmed that a special review is now underway into the Garda Representative Association (GRA) position that rank-and-file officers did not falsify breath test figures.

The follow-on review is now being conducted by Assistant Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan.

The GRA controversially insisted last week that the blame for the scandal over almost 1.5 million false breath tests firmly at the door of middle and senior ranking Gardai.

They insisted "elevated" figures were entirely the result of pressure on rank-and-file officers from senior Gardai.

Deputy Commissioner Twomey warned that the falsification of any data within An Garda Siochana was unacceptable.

"It is unacceptable that people, or anybody, falsified records," he said.

"It is unacceptable that there is any wrongdoing in this area."

The Garda college in Templemore, Co Tipperary. Photo: Damien Eagers
The Garda college in Templemore, Co Tipperary. Photo: Damien Eagers

Mr Flanagan, speaking with senior Garda chiefs at the passing out of 181 Garda recruits at Templemore College in Tipperary, expressed his disappointment at the controversy and the GRA comments.

"I think the comments were premature and I was disappointed with the comments," he said.

"That said, there is a process underway and I am awaiting the independent report from the Policing Authority to see if there are issues here to be dealt with."

"In fact, there are issues across a range of pursuits in An Garda Siochana."

"I want all the skeletons out of all of the cupboards."

"I want to see an accelerated process of extensive reform across An Garda Siochana. In particular, I want to see the advice on the recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate all of which are being closely monitored."

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan with Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin at the passing out ceremony of probationer Gardaí at the Garda College, Templemore this morning.
Pic:Mark Condren
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan with Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin at the passing out ceremony of probationer Gardaí at the Garda College, Templemore this morning. Pic:Mark Condren

Mr Flanagan stressed that an efficient, modern and well-resourced police force was vital for Ireland's future.

"I am here to acknowledged on behalf of Government the really important role that Gardai play in Irish communities in the protection of our lives," he said.

"I am also here to talk about Garda reform and the need to accelerate the pace o a programme of reform that is necessary if we are to have a world class police service," he said.

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