Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Justice and Equality Jim O’Callaghan TD has welcomed the statement issued by the Policing Authority following its examination of the O’Higgins Commission report.
Deputy O’Callaghan commented, “The recommendations issued by the Policing Authority following its examination of the O’Higgins Commission report show the need for real reform to be delivered by the Garda Commissioner and her senior management team.
“I welcome the fact that the Policing Authority assessed the report in its entirety and sought further clarification from the Garda Commissioner. It’s clear that a change of culture is required at all levels of An Garda Síochána. The Commissioner needs to deliver on this change by taking on board the concerns raised by the Policing Authority.
“The public need confidence in the Gardai. We now have a real opportunity to learn from the stark analysis contained in the O’Higgins Commission report, coupled with the other reports which were carried out in the last number of years. There is a need to recognise that wrongdoing occurred, and we cannot lose sight of the fact that victims of crime were let down.
“The Minister and Government should ensure that there is proper investment in the force in order to ensure the necessary reforming measures can be carried out. There needs to be ongoing education and training of members of the force to ensure they are best equipped to carry out their job.
“There should be an immediate review of the role of sergeant as recommended by the O’Higgins Commission report. The public sector pay commission should also be established without delay to address the low entry pay for new Garda recruits. We cannot have a situation where the morale of new entrants is already on the floor as a result of poor pay and conditions.
“The Policing Authority was correct to request the Commissioner to publish the charters relating to the protection of whistle-blowers within the force. This will all for more openness and transparency which will help lead to a culture change in the force,” said Deputy O’Callaghan.