Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins has criticised the Justice Minister Alan Shatter for his unacceptable delays in addressing the serious concerns over garda cooperation with Garda Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) investigations.
Raising the matter in the Dáil today, Deputy Collins asked the Minister why he still hasn’t met with the Garda Commissioner and GSOC to discuss what he described as ‘a very important matter of public interest’. The Fianna Fáil Deputy was also critical of the lack of Dáil time allocated to discuss the issue.
Deputy Collins commented, “On the 9th of May the Minister committed to me that a priority meeting would take place between him, the Garda Commissioner and GSOC to discuss the critical matter of cooperation with GSOC investigations. It is now the middle of June and no meeting has taken place. The Minister had no explanation for the delay when I questioned him in the Dáil today.
“This is clearly a matter of public interest. It is unprecedented that the Chairman of GSOC had to take to the national airwaves to articulate alarming instances of non-cooperation. There is no doubt that the Justice Minister, who presides over An Garda Síochána, needs to show some leadership to resolve this issue. But so far we have seen a worrying lack of urgency from Alan Shatter.
“Since the Garda Ombudsman Commission was established, it has backed up the excellent work and conduct of the gardaí in the vast majority of cases. The existence of an independent Garda Ombudsman helps reinforce public confidence in the force. It is crucial that the public can be assured that the Ombudsman is allowed to do its work with the full cooperation it needs.
“It’s unacceptable that so little time was allocated in the Dáil today to answer the range of Priority Questions submitted by the opposition in relation to this important issue. What is worse is the Minister’s refusal in that very short time to provide any clarity whatsoever on what progress he has made to bring this matter to a close.”