Saturday 25 November 2017

New commissioner and an oversight system are now key

Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was one of the gardai drafted in from uniformed duties in Blanchardstown to the Tango Squad
Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was one of the gardai drafted in from uniformed duties in Blanchardstown to the Tango Squad
New Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald speaking to media at Government Buildings, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
John Downing

John Downing

Change is in the air. It doesn't mean change is going to happen – but it does mean there will be a lot of talk about it.

The coming week's political agenda will be all about justice and police reforms. On top of that, Labour, in anticipation of a considerable political kicking in the elections on Friday week, is already talking about radically redirecting the focus of this Fine Gael-Labour Coalition.

And for good measure, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar is also out there talking about the need to start a complete cultural shift to "a rules-based society" over the coming generation. He thinks we need to become "a by-the-book nation" getting rid of the "man-who-knows-the-man-who-can-sort-this-out". Mr Varadkar reckons this could take us 20 years or more to achieve. Tomorrow the Cabinet will consider the promised commission of inquiry into An Garda Siochana, which was recommended by senior counsel Sean Guerin in his report last Friday. The new Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, has already raised eyebrows by failing on three occasions at her first press occasion last Friday to express confidence in the secretary general of her department, Brian Purcell.

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