Independent Policing Authority key to justice reform, Fitzgerald says



Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald TD
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald TD

Creating an independent policing authority is a “key element” of the government’s justice reform programme, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said.

Ms Fitzgerald was speaking to the Dáil yesterday as she introduced the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which she said represents “the most far reaching reform of the Garda Síochána since the foundation of the State”.

The principal purpose of the bill is to create an Independent Policing Authority which would scrutinise An Garda Síochána.

The proposed body would nominate persons for appointment to the posts of Garda Commissioner and Deputy Garda Commissioner, as well as directly appointing the Garda Superintendent, Chief Superintendent and Assistant Commissioner.

The body would also play a role in appointing senior civilian staff, approving three-year strategy statements, approving the annual Garda policing plan, and promoting the “continuous improvement of policing in the State”.

Ms Fitzgerald told the Dáil: “I would reiterate that the overall objective of the Government’s programme of justice reform, of which the Authority forms a key element, is to bring forward necessary changes to improve policing services in the State and to maintain public confidence in the Garda Síochána.

“The establishment of the Policing Authority will, I believe, bring about a fundamental change in the area of policing and, as I mentioned earlier, gives effect to my commitment to deliver a sea-change in the oversight of policing in the State.

“I believe that the changes provided for in the Bill are prudent, necessary and will, in the future, benefit not just the public but also the men and women of the Garda Síochána.”