Sunday 19 November 2017

Root and branch garda review won't be complete until September 2018

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A commission set up to carry out a ‘root and branch’ review of An Garda Siochana will have until September 2018 to compile its report.

The Cabinet has today signed off the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland which will be chaired by Seattle police chief Kathleen O’Toole.

The other members will be Noeleen Blackwell, Conor Brady, Johnny Connolly, Vicky Conway, Tim Dalton, Peter Fahy, Eddie Molloy, Tonita Murray, Antonio Oftelie, Donncha O’Connell and Helen Ryan.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald told ministers that although the Commission is not required to complete its work for over a year it will be allowed to bring forward immediate proposals and rolling recommendations.

“These terms of reference for the Commission of the Future of Policing in Ireland encompass all functions carried out by An Garda Síochána including community safety, state security and immigration, and also the full range of bodies that have a role in providing oversight and accountability including the three statutory bodies, but also my Department and the Government,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

She said the members of the Commission have “impressive track records in their respective fields”.

“The membership seeks to strike the right balance between domestic and international perspectives and between academic, operational policing, community and victims’ perspectives, change management, governance and indeed Government experience. “These are people of the highest calibre and will bring the necessary diversity of thought and expertise to the task,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

The Tánaiste added that the process will be “an opportunity to stand back and examine how we are to be policed”.

“I am determined to continue shining a light to uncover bad practices and issues that must be resolved,” she said.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has stated that it looks forward to cooperating, consulting and communicating with the new Commission.

Speaking this afternoon, President Antoinette Cunningham stated that the impact of this new policing body will be positive but only if it can make progress and not be paralysed by Government or other stakeholder inaction.

“Our Association welcomes the Commission and are heartened to see the level of collective national and international expertise among the 12 members, however we question the exclusion of a current or a former member of An Garda Síochána.”

“I would temper our enthusiasm by saying that we have witnessed first-hand how progress is paralysed by Government inaction. As a typical example of this, six months on from a threatened withdrawal of service by Gardaí and the Government have not progressed legislation to give us access to the Workplace Relations Commission or the Labour Court which should have been progressed by January of this year."

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