Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Discipline Regulations.

10.

asked the Minister for Justice whether he is aware that an unmarried ban-gharda has had to face discipline proceedings as a result of her becoming pregnant and giving birth to a child; whether he regards it as satisfactory that such a matter should be the subject of Garda discipline regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

11.

asked the Minister for Justice if he is aware that disciplinary proceedings were initiated last year by the Garda authorities against an unmarried ban-gharda who had become pregnant and against a male garda who was alleged to be the father of the child; if he believes that these are appropriate matters for proceedings under the Garda Síochána (Discipline) Regulations, 1971; if he will consider amending the regulations to ensure that proceedings of this nature cannot be taken again; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

(Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 11 together. I assume that the Deputies are referring to a case which was the subject of press reports last February.

Under the Garda Síochána (Discipline) Regulations, 1971, the enforcement of discipline within the force is a matter for the Garda authorities and, except in cases involving dismissal which in certain circumstances require my consent, I have no function in the matter. Accordingly, it would not be appropriate for me to comment either on the specific case referred to or on the other issue raised.

I take it that the Minister has a function in establishing the disciplinary regulations, therefore, I assume he has responsibility in the way those regulations are implemented. Will he not accept in respect of specific cases that it is intolerable that any person in any employment should be disciplined for conception and birth of a child, that it is not appropriate in this day and age for either the Garda authorities or any other employer to intrude in this way into the personal lives of their employees?

(Limerick East): As I have said, the question of enforcement of discipline within the force is a matter for the Garda authorities. There are exceptional cases involving dismissal which in certain circumstances require my consent, but normal disciplinary procedures are not referred to me; they are a matter for the Garda authorities.

I understand and accept that the Minister is not involved in day-to-day disciplinary matters, but my question relates to whether he considers that it is time that the regulations should be altered to ensure that intrusion into the personal lives of gardaí is avoided and that no disciplinary action can be taken against a member of the Garda for giving birth to a child.

(Limerick East): I will consider that.