New watchdog to oversee gardaí comes into force
The performance of An Garda Síochána is to come under increased scrutiny following the formal establishment of the Policing Authority.
The authority, an independent body that came into force yesterday, has been handed extensive powers aimed at ensuring greater oversight of the force. Chaired by the former boss of the Revenue Commissioners Josephine Feehily, the authority is now responsible for nominating gardaí to senior posts, including that of Garda Commissioner.
Regular meetings will take place between the body and the current Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.
At least four of these meetings can be broadcast by the media each year.
The establishment of the authority comes as the Commissioner prepares her response to the Garda Inspectorate report, which criticised what it called a "two-tier" policing system.
The Inspectorate found there is a disproportionate number of gardaí assigned to community policing in Dublin divisions compared to rural communities.
It also found that areas such as Mayo and Kildare currently have no full-time community policing officers.