Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow and East Carlow Stephen Donnelly says proposals put forward by his party will strengthen the Policing Authority and help restore public confidence in An Garda Síochána.

Deputy Donnelly made the comments in advance of the party’s motion which will be debated in the Dáil later this evening.

Deputy Donnelly commented, “An Garda Síochána provide an invaluable service in Wicklow but public confidence has been shaken by recent revelations. It’s clear that there are significant challenges at management level which need to be addressed and our motion sets out a way to achieving this.

“The Policing Authority needs further strengthening. Full public confidence in the processes and procedures around Garda oversight is a critical component of modern effective policing. We believe that decisive action must be taken to implement real reform and cultural change in An Garda Síochána. It’s well acknowledged that State institutions can be slow to embrace self-reform, so it’s necessary to enhance the role of the Policing Authority to get this process underway.

“Fianna Fáil is also calling for the establishment of an Independent Commission to examine current management policies and procedures with the view to identifying the changes that need to be made to strengthen management. Furthermore we want recruitment of civilians at senior managerial levels alongside direct recruitment. These measures will bring fresh thinking into the service and will ultimately help drive reforms. Similar direct entry programmes into managerial levels are in place in many UK police forces.

“I know that the Gardaí have had high levels of public support in Wicklow and it’s important that steps are taken to maintain this support. Our proposals will help achieve this,” concluded Deputy Donnelly.