Fianna Fáil Justice spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan has announced that Fianna Fáil is publishing legislation to give greater powers to the Policing Authority. The announcement came following the appearance of the Garda Commissioner and senior colleagues at the Oireachtas Justice Committee earlier today.

Deputy O’Callaghan commented, “Unfortunately, after today’s appearance by the Garda Commissioner and her colleagues at the Justice Committee, Fianna Fáil remains unable to express confidence in the Commissioner.

“On behalf of the party, I will be writing to the Tánaiste and the Chair of the Policing Authority for further information on a number of issues, and my colleagues and I will consider our next steps.

“In the meantime however, I believe it important to move decisively to try and shore up confidence in the processes and procedures around Garda oversight. With that in mind I am publishing a new Bill aimed at expanding and strengthening the powers available to the Policing Authority. It has been submitted to the Ceann Comhairle and the Bills Office.

“I hope all parties in the Dáil will be able to support this bill. Most of the provisions were also recommended by a recent report on Garda Oversight by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality.

“We are all committed to a Garda Siochána that is active, visible and effective in communities nationwide and oversight is crucial to achieving this. There is no more important or fundamental role for the state than the protection of its citizens. The people depend on the Garda Siochána to feel safe in their communities and to uphold the rule of law. That is why it is so important for us to hold the force to account and ensure we achieve and maintain the highest possible standards.”

The Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2017 will give the Authority greater oversight over the workings of An Garda Síochána and the Commissioner’s office

Under the provisions of the Bill, the authority will be empowered to;
– supervise the functioning of the Garda Commissioner’s Office and supervise the discharge of these functions by the Commissioner;

– oversee the performance by the Garda Síochána of its functions relating to policing services;

– establish policies and procedures for An Garda Síochána which shall be binding on all members of An Garda Síochána; and

– review the adequacy and appropriateness of the policies and procedures which underpin the operation of an An Garda Síochána;

The new bill also require the Commissioner to inform the Policing Authority of any event which requires an internal audit within An Garda Síochána.

A further provision also gives the Garda Inspectorate the power to make unannounced inspections at any Garda Síochána station or premises.