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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 2 Apr 2015

Vol. 873 No. 3

Priority Questions

Garda Complaints Procedures

Niall Collins


1. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the independent review mechanism will complete its work; the actions that will be taken following its recommendations; if a commission of investigation will be established; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13369/15]

I ask the Minister for an update relating to the independent review mechanism. She will recall that it was established in July 2014 and it was initially indicated that there would be an outcome of the process within eight to 12 weeks. We are now many months on from last July. Can the Minister give an update on when the work will be completed, the possible recommendations that will flow from it and whether a commission of investigation will arise from it?

I express my ongoing thanks to the panel of counsel examining these cases.

The Deputy is referring to the mechanism established last year for the independent review of certain allegations of Garda misconduct, or inadequacies in the investigation of certain allegations, which had been made to a variety of Members of this House. A panel consisting of two senior and five junior counsel was established for the purpose, all selected on the basis of their experience of the criminal justice system.

The volume and complexity of cases has led to the review taking longer than originally anticipated, but it is important that counsel take the time necessary to consider each case fully and carefully. Given the fact that there are more than 300 cases and the complexity and sensitivity of the matters involved, the process has taken longer than initially envisaged, but I did not seek to rush the process at any stage, as that would not have been fair to counsel or to the people whose cases were being examined.

The independent review is now at a very advanced stage in the vast majority of cases. In some cases, new material came in and they had to be referred back again so that we could consider the new material. Although counsel have not finished their work, my Department has now received a number of recommendations from counsel, and shortly after Easter I intend to start the process of notifying the persons concerned of the outcome of the review of their cases.

The recommendation in each case is a matter for counsel. Clearly, there are a number of possible options for further investigation, in particular by way of referral to GSOC. However, I feel it is important to point out that in a large proportion of cases, counsel will likely recommend that no further action can reasonably be taken. This might be, for example, because a case has already been through due process even though the complainant remains unhappy with the outcome. The crucial point, however, is that every case will have been reviewed by independent counsel, who will have made an objective recommendation.

The Deputy will appreciate that I should, in the first instance, inform the individuals in question of the outcome in their individual cases. It would not be appropriate for me to say what the outcomes are at this stage. I have also asked counsel, in addition to making recommendations in individual cases, to produce a general overview of the issues and trends identified through this process.

There is no doubt that the volume of cases is quite immense, and I accept that there is a reason for the delay, but this reason should be communicated to each of the people who submitted papers for consideration. I am no different from others in this House who have submitted documentation on behalf of various people. Many of those people have got back to me because there has been a lack of communication and their confidence is being undermined as a result. It would be timely on the Minister's part even to send a holding letter just to tell them what her intention is. She has told us she believes the review will be ready after Easter.

One particular case is that of Ms Sarah Bland, who has been in contact with me on a number of occasions. Her case was not considered under the independent review mechanism but it is a very serious case which goes back many years. I have met with Ms Bland and I wonder if the Minister would consider meeting with her to hear her case as a public representative.

I thank the Deputy. I will allow him to speak again.

We need to find a mechanism to help this individual.

I would prefer not to comment on individual cases. There are very wide criteria for referrals to the review mechanism. There has been no filter except where cases clearly fall outside the criteria. We have been very open to referring the cases that the Deputies have referred to us, and the vast majority have been referred to the review mechanism. If a case has not been referred, it has been for a very good reason. I will examine the case to which the Deputy refers to see precisely what happened.

I am sure the recommendations of the review mechanism will be tough for some complainants to accept, but as this process has progressed I have been advised that counsel has identified a number of overarching and cross-cutting themes. It is very important for us to study these cases - more than 300 of them - and find the common issues that emerge in order to identify what further action we should take.

I will give the Minister the details of Ms Sarah Bland after this session. Maybe the Minister can contact her directly herself, because it is a very serious case which did not make it into the review mechanism.

There is an injustice in the case of Sarah Bland and a mechanism to address it must be found. I will provide the Minister with details afterwards.

Is it fair to state the Minister is not ruling out a commission of investigation following the completion of the work by the panel of barristers who comprise this independent review mechanism? I believe a formal commission of investigation will be merited in a number of cases that are in the public domain. Can the Minister confirm to Members today that a formal commission of investigation established by the Oireachtas is a potential outcome arising from the review mechanism?

When replying to the Deputy, I must stress that counsel have been asked to make a recommendation to me on what action, if any, might be appropriate in each case. The panel is independent and there is no restriction on the nature of the recommendations it might take. A wide range of actions could be taken in respect of any particular case, such as referral to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, referral to the Garda Commissioner for further information or for disciplinary action or referral to a commission for examination. This remains open as an option to counsel if they believe a commission of inquiry is warranted. There are no restrictions on them and I must await the outcome of the 300-plus cases to ascertain whether there is a recommendation for a commission in any of them. Obviously, if such a recommendation is made, I will follow up with that, but I must await the outcome of the investigation of the cases.

Garda Misconduct Allegations

Pádraig MacLochlainn


2. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide an update on the progress of the work of the independent panel of counsel that is reviewing allegations of Garda malpractice; and when its recommendations are due. [13425/15]

As the Minister can see, this question is on the same theme. I thank her for taking the two questions separately to give to the matter the length of time it requires. The question pertains to the length of time, which obviously adds to the distress of the families who await an outcome.

Many of these cases have been around for more than ten years, and some for 20 years. I have made clear that they are cases for which, in many ways, nobody else has ever found a solution to the satisfaction of the complainants. This is the first time a Government has taken this number of cases that have been on the desks of Deputies or have been of concern and, if one likes, has gathered them together and referred them to an independent process. It is completely independent, as the panel is taking the cases for some of which there are volumes of files. The panel members have examined them thoroughly in an independent manner to ascertain whether there is any further legal or administrative action that can be taken. This is the reason for the review mechanism. It is extremely time-consuming, and I made the decision to await the comprehensive result from the review mechanism. However, as I stated, after Easter I will start to examine the recommendations that have come to the Department, and I will write to the people involved in each of the cases. I note it will be quite a job even to craft a response. We will get the file with the recommendations. I imagine there will be an analysis of the cases, and it will be quite a job to pull together the detail and the recommendations and make sure that in the Department's response to each individual case the recommendations made are dealt with comprehensively. However, the Deputy should reassure anyone with whom he is in touch that this will happen after Easter. I certainly can put something into the public arena to make clear that this is what is happening. After Easter, the people concerned will begin to hear of individual cases that have been referred. The entire process is not yet complete, as cases remain outstanding, but the panel is working on them. Nevertheless, at this point I believe I should begin to give information to individual complainants.

The Minister will appreciate, particularly regarding the Guerin report and some cases that have come to public prominence, that many families may have let their own cases rest or become dormant but later came forward. Many people in politics on both sides of the House have been meeting families and listening to their cases, which is why I welcomed this initiative when it took place. While I accept that the panel is independent, have its members been meeting the persons who made the allegations to follow up and clarify the documentation submitted? Have the panel members examined the original Garda files? How rigorous is the process involved? As the Minister is aware, I am sure there will be many disappointed people whenever the matters come forward. While some cases undoubtedly will not justify further action, I believe that some will. If there are disappointed families, it will be important to demonstrate that this process was both independent and rigorous and that, unfortunately, nothing more can be done in the independent view of the barristers, having engaged in a rigorous process.

I have made clear previously that this is a review of the written files, and the counsel have not met individuals. The Deputy mentioned how the time taken already has been long, but that really would have taken much longer. It was never envisaged that it would be that type of process. It is a comprehensive review of all the information, and in several debates on this matter I have made clear on the floor of the Chamber that if the people involved in the cases so wished, further information could be submitted. This has happened, and in some cases where a recommendation was made, further information came in and my Department sent it back to counsel for further attention. While not all of complainants have made clear when their complaints originated, in cases in which they have made it clear, it is possible to state that at least 65 complaints originated before the year 2000, with the oldest complaint dating back to events that occurred in 1969. There is a lot of information involved.

I take the Deputy's point that people may well be disappointed. I believe this is true, because if one has pursued a case for many years in the belief that something was not done that should have been, such a belief may well remain with one and it may not be possible for any legal or administrative action to be taken that would satisfy one's belief or where further action could lead to another outcome. This is what I have asked the counsel to examine, namely, to ascertain whether there is another pathway or if there has been malpractice or if something is clearly missing and some action should have been taken. However, I note, for example, that in the vast majority of complaints to police forces internationally-----

I will let the Minister back in.

-----only approximately 5% to 10% of cases require further action.

In fairness, Members are aware from the history of policing in the State that the level of professionalism in investigations has evolved over the years.

Obviously, Members commend the most recent case in the past week, in which some superb policing took place. However, it has not always been of that standard. My concern is that some families are highly resourceful and have the capacity, perhaps with professional assistance, to summarise coherently what are the issues for them. However, other families may not have that type of resource available to them and perhaps the documentation does not do them justice. Members raised this matter two months ago and thought it would be dealt with within a month. I urge that these matters be brought to a conclusion.

Another concern expressed was that people would not receive feedback unless the entire grouping of allegations was dealt with in its entirety. In other words, were someone to make a new allegation, it would be necessary to investigate it before the original group of complainants would receive their feedback. I urge that the process of giving people their outcomes begin as soon as possible. Finally, has the panel been looking at the original Garda files?

Yes, any files that have been submitted, and where the panel has sought additional information on a case, its members can obviously request that. I confirm to the Deputy that even though the entirety of complaints that have come in have not been examined at this point, I have taken a decision to begin the feedback after Easter to individual complainants where the cases have been completed, when I will start to send out those letters to individuals. I wish to provide some further information to Members.

The majority of the complaints are against An Garda Síochána, approximately 99 are against GSOC and 128 involve other bodies. One of the reasons I was waiting to have as many as possible completed before I started giving out recommendations was to be able to give a comprehensive report. I have asked for that report and will publish it with its analysis and recommendations.

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Mick Wallace


3. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will update Dáil Éireann on the appointment of a replacement for the former Chairperson of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC; if she is satisfied that the Commission is sufficiently resourced to deal with challenges facing it; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13488/15]

When will the Minister appoint a replacement for Simon O'Brien? It is strange that it has not happened. What process does she intend to use? I understand that section 65 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 allows for a 100% political appointment. Has the Minister considered changing that system in any way? It is obvious that despite the Minister having given an extra €1 million to GSOC this year, it is under-resourced and does not have the potential to do what it is supposed to do.

It is vital that the public has strong confidence in the Garda Síochána and the system of oversight of the Garda Síochána. The Government is implementing a comprehensive programme of reform in the areas of policing and justice. As part of the programme of change, the Garda Síochána (Amendment) Act 2015, which I will be commencing very shortly, will strengthen and clarify the remit and capacity of GSOC, and I will keep under review the case for further change.

I remain in contact with GSOC and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to resources for GSOC. I should mention in this regard that the recent budget granted GSOC an increase of €1 million in its allocation for 2015.

Mr. Simon O'Brien resigned from his position as chairperson of GSOC on 30 January 2015. Mr. O'Brien made an important contribution in his role as the chairperson of GSOC, as well as in his previous role as deputy to the chief inspector in the Garda Inspectorate, and I again put on record my appreciation for his service.

With regard to the vacancy that arose on foot of Mr. O’Brien’s resignation, the 2005 Act provides for a situation where a member of GSOC has resigned his or her position and permits GSOC to act notwithstanding the vacancy. The appointment of members of GSOC is governed by section 65 of the 2005 Act. This stipulates that the commission consists of three members, all of whom are to be appointed by the President on the nomination of the Government, following the passage of resolutions by both Houses of the Oireachtas recommending the appointments. The 2005 Act requires that the Government must be satisfied that persons nominated have the appropriate experience, qualifications, training or expertise for appointment having regard to the functions of GSOC. The person who will be appointed to GSOC will serve out Mr. O'Brien's term of office which will expire at the end of December 2016. That is in line with the Act.

I wish to inform the House that following careful consideration of the matters, I have decided to advertise the position of chairperson of GSOC for the remainder of the term.

The Minister said GSOC can carry on its work while waiting for the third commissioner to be appointed. The sad point is that it cannot carry out its work. It is under too much pressure. The extra workload involved in giving it the job of confidential recipient seems to be beyond it. For example, the case of a whistleblower named Keith Harrison was referred to GSOC last September. He spoke to Simon O’Brien in December and Mr. O’Brien said he was taking it very seriously but he has not heard a word since then and it is now April. Another whistleblower complained to GSOC in November 2014 and has heard nothing. They are both gardaí. GSOC does not have the capacity to behave as a confidential recipient.

GSOC’s remit was always intended to be investigatory, rather than review and oversight. It does not have a prayer of being an investigatory body without the necessary resources.

I meet with GSOC. We gave it €1 million extra in the recent budget and it recruited extra people. It is getting on with the job of investigation. I received its report for this year late yesterday which outlines its work. I cannot comment on individual cases but I am very keen that the public and the Garda have confidence in GSOC and that it gets on with the work of investigating. It is doing that.

The Deputy is quoting particular cases and timeframes. I do not know the reasons for those delays but it is examining the cases that come before it. The chairperson will be replaced soon. In the meantime, the other officers are getting on with the work.

The Minister says the public has confidence in GSOC. That is not true. The Minister knows that it does not. As she said in response to the previous question, many complaints are based on the fact that people did not get satisfaction from GSOC. It is not that the people in GSOC are bad people, rather it does not have the potential to be the body it was intended to be. We all realise that it was structured in the first place not to succeed and sadly that remains the case.

In 2013, the UN rapporteur on human rights expressed concerns about how GSOC worked and said that the excessive dependence on the Department of Justice and Equality was worrying. It said that it should be an independent body. The Garda Síochána (Amendment) (No.3) Bill 2014 that the Minister brought in does not make it independent. It is too dependent on the Department and the Minister. The Minister has retained control over its ability to investigate the Garda Commissioner. It is not allowed to investigate retired gardaí. It does not expand the grounds of admissibility, does not require mandatory involvement of GSOC in all investigations, does not prohibit gardaí from serving in GSOC and does not reform the informal resolution mechanism. It was a very disappointing effort. The lack of resources is crucial. The Government will not get a GSOC that is fit for purpose until it gives it far more resources than it has done. If it wants it to work properly, it will have to resource it.

Resources are an ongoing problem for every body. I reject what the Deputy says about GSOC’s independence. GSOC gets on with its work in an independent manner. Last year, it had an increase of 11% in referrals. We changed the legislation to give it more power. Under the provisions of the new Act, for the first time, there is an inclusion of the Garda Commissioner within GSOC’s investigative remit, there is a broadening of the scope for me to refer cases to it, and there is the conferral of additional police powers for criminal investigation and greater autonomy for it in examining Garda practices, policies and procedures. Any reasonable person would accept that it has been given greater powers and has been given an extra €1 million-----

That is not true. The Minister has kept control.

In a very exceptional way, as the Deputy knows. It is getting on with its work day to day. Any reasonable person knows and would accept that. There has been an 11% increase in the number of cases coming to it. An extra €1 million has been allocated. It is getting on with its work, investigating complaints it receives. I am sure one could make improvements and legislative change in every body. We have done that this year. We have brought in legislation to strengthen its powers. The Bill regarding the police authority will come up later this year. If there are further changes to be made, we can use that Bill.

Garda Recruitment

Niall Collins


4. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the optimum level of membership of An Garda Síochána; her views of the high level of sick leave within An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

In light of the revelation that since 1 January 2015 there are 12,799 gardaí, what does the Minister believe is the optimum head count for the force, bearing in mind that on average, on any given day, up to 500 may be out sick?

This is an issue I have hugely committed to, as seen from the announcement yesterday of a further 250 gardaí being recruited. This brings to 550 the number of gardaí to be recruited between September of last year and October of this year. We also have 1,100 Garda reserve members and a further 45 in training and 2,000 Garda civilian staff. The latest date for which figures are available shows 12,763 members of the Garda Síochána. I am very pleased that my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Brendan Howlin, agreed to the resumption of Garda recruitment. We have had three intakes and the first of these will attest as sworn members of the force in May, with the additional recruits attesting in September and October.

There is no particular scientific basis for calculating an optimum number but clearly there must be sufficient gardaí, supported by skilled personnel and with sufficient resources, to deliver the policing service the public expect and deserve. This is why we have put the focus on Garda recruitment and opened up Templemore and that is why I have committed to seamless, ongoing recruitment, which I am delivering on. We must look at the reforms the Garda Commissioner has started, with the establishment of the strategic transformation office to oversee the organisational changes necessary, and we must overhaul the information and communications technology.

All of these factors must come together if we are to have an efficient police force that is able to meet the objectives of the kind of community policing we want to see and the proper investigation of criminal activity. We must ensure there is the best use of all Garda resources, which is featured strongly in the recent Garda Inspectorate report on crime investigation.

With regard to sick leave, the following table shows the level of sick leave in the Garda Síochána between comparable periods in 2013 and 2014, which includes the period since the introduction of the new public service sick leave scheme. Comparing the period April to December of each year, there is a reduction in 30% in the number of days lost through sick leave. This is a welcome development.

Sick Leave Statistics comparing 01 Apr-31 Dec 2013 to 01 Apr-31 Dec 2014

Sworn Members


Overall Sick Leave

Ordinary Illness

Injury On Duty

2013 (Apr-Dec)




2014 (Apr-Dec)




% Decrease




NB - The above figures are as recorded on Sick Absence Management System (SAMS) and reported as at 12.02.2015.

The total number of sick days recorded on SAMS are the number of calendar days that staff are absent and may include weekends and rest days

Sick Leave Statistics comparing 01 Apr-31 Dec 2013 to 01 Apr-31 Dec 2014

Sworn Members (5/7 formula applied)


Overall Sick Leave

Ordinary Illness

Injury On Duty

2013 (Apr-Dec)




2014 (Apr-Dec)




% Decrease




NB - The above figures are as recorded on SAMS and reported at 12.02.2015*

The total numbers of sick days recorded on SAMS are the number of calendar days that staff are absent and may include weekends and rest days.

To align the lost time rate for AGS in line with other public sectors the formula of 5/7 was applied to the number of sick days recorded as “ORDINARY SICK LEAVE” for 2013.

This formula was applied not withstanding that the majority of gardaí work a roster over ten weeks, working ten hour shifts, six days on and resting for four days.

I heard the Minister's announcement yesterday and I think more recruitment needs to be done over and above the 250 announced. I raised this with the Garda Commissioner last week when she attended the meeting of the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. If the Garda Commissioner must roll out a multi-annual policing plan, she must be allowed to engage in multi-annual planning. Unfortunately, manpower is the biggest resource she needs. When I attend public meetings about crime around Dublin and throughout the country, the biggest issue raised is Garda response times because of the availability of gardaí to respond to calls. Some 1,498 members are eligible to retire today, which is a staggering figure. They will not all retire within the one year or month but it is significant. The Minister must have another conversation about recruitment with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Brendan Howlin.

I raised the matter of the Garda reserve before and, lo and behold, I got two calls from people last week who were called for interview. There seems to be something happening in examining the people who applied to be members of the Garda reserve. How many will be taken on as a result of the interview process the Public Appointments Service is undertaking?

The deployment of operational resources the Garda Commissioner has is an operational issue. Members of the Garda Síochána are getting on with the work. I have been struck by comments from colleagues in the House and members of the public about their appreciation of work in local cases and high-profile cases. People have been impressed with the commitment of members of the Garda Síochána, the level of criminal investigation and quality of work. Deputy Mac Lochlainn spoke earlier about how methods developed and there have been huge improvements made in standards. That is very obvious in terms of the Molloy report, which I published this week. Today's standards of investigation are quite different.

Response times are improving and greater recruitment will give greater flexibility. The point of the extra recruitment is flexibility to deploy people as they are needed in local communities. Opening up recruitment and having 550 new gardaí to deal with the issues described is a significant step to have taken this year.

Everyone is happy to see recruitment under way but I am emphasising the figure of 1,498 gardaí eligible to retire. I remind the Minister of what the Garda Commissioner said at the committee meeting last week that she can easily have 500 members put through training in Templemore per annum. I emphasise that there will be an issue if there are 1,498 eligible to retire today in terms of the level of recruitment. It will fall short if we are to maintain headcount in the Garda Síochána at the magic number of 13,000. The Minister said 45 reserves were in training. How many will there be in the next intake? Can the Minister give an insight into the grand plan?

In 2012 and 2013, the Public Appointments Service received a record number of expressions of interest in joining the Garda reserve. That is probably linked to the new recruitment campaign and people wanted to show they were interested. Twenty-three of the first batch of 100 recruits were members of the reserve, 17 former reserve members were in the second batch of 100 new recruits and 13 former reserve members were in the third batch of 100 new full-time recruits. I explained that recruitment to the Garda reserve is ongoing but was slow in 2014 because of resource issues in the Public Appointments Service, which decided to concentrate on recruitment to the full-time force. This is expected to change in 2015 and the new powers will be rolled out to the Garda reserve shortly. If someone has been in the Garda reserve, it is a factor that the Public Appointments Service takes into account when doing interviews. It is relevant experience and is an important aspect of an applicant's CV when a decision has been taken.

On a point of order, with respect-----

This is Question Time.

We have gone ten minutes over the 30 minutes allocated for Priority Questions and it is eating into Oral Questions for ordinary Members. I just want to bring it to the attention of the Ceann Comhairle.

I am trying my best.

Garda Oversight

Mick Wallace


5. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in view of the fact that it is over one year since the departure of the former Garda Commissioner, if she is satisfied with efforts made to change the culture and workings of An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13489/15]

It is over a year since the Commissioner went and nearly a year since the Minister went but it is hard to see any serious change. Will the Minister tell me when she expects the police authority to be up and running? With regard to the implementation steering group, the Cabinet sub-committee oversees it. Is there external oversight of it? With regard to the Garda professional standards unit, GPSU, report on fixed charge notices, will the Minister tell me if anyone has been disciplined or any sanctions brought? What was the outcome of the internal disciplinary proceedings of the three gardaí referred to in the O'Mahoney report?

The question asks whether I am satisfied with efforts made to change the culture and workings of the Garda Síochána and to make a statement on that. Significant change, under the leadership of the new Garda Commissioner, is under way in the Garda Síochána. I unequivocally reject any suggestion otherwise. I will be publishing the policing authority Bill by the end of April or in May and we are working hard on it.

That legislation announces the most profound reform of the Garda organisation in its 93 year history.

Another important change was the appointment, for the very first time, of the new Commissioner by way of an open competition. This is a clear indication that change has come, and the Commissioner has not wasted any time in bringing about organisational and operational change. A new strategic transformation office has been established to ensure changes are being delivered correctly and on schedule. Risk compliance and continuous improvements offices have been set up in each region, headed by a superintendent, to deliver changes at regional level in a standard and consistent way. New units have been established to focus expertise more effectively in particular areas, such as organised crime, domestic and sexual violence, and human exploitation. Detective superintendents in the regions have been charged with delivering a co-ordinated and effective approach to crime. The policing plan for 2015, which has been laid before the Houses, sets out clearly the Garda objectives for this year. I encourage Deputies to look through it. Finally, the Deputy is familiar with the Government's programme of legislative reform, which includes a range of initiatives in this area.

I acknowledge that problems within the Garda organisation have been pinpointed. The difficulty, however, is that we still have not seen the necessary reforms implemented. The Minister did not indicate when she expects the police authority to be up and running. Will she clarify whether any disciplinary action was taken arising out of the Garda professional standards unit, GPSU, report into fixed charge notices? Were any sanctions applied in respect of the Garda Inspectorate report? The latter represents a very serious body of work but there is a problem in that an internal Garda body is involved in the implementation steering group. As I pointed out to the Taoiseach earlier this week, a chief superintendent involved in that work is the subject of three separate ongoing investigations. That is very worrying. It is vital that there be independent oversight of the implementation of the Garda Inspectorate report. Will the Minister give a progress report on the 200 recommendations it contains and indicate how many meetings of the implementation steering group have taken place? Without independent oversight, we will not see much change.

The Deputy refers to change and oversight. It is useful to consider just one example of change, namely, the reform of the fixed charge penalty system, FCPS, cancellation process. I have appointed Judge Matthew Deery, a former President of the Circuit Court, to act as head of an independent oversight authority for the cancellation process. That role is in addition to the ongoing internal audit of the system. Judge Deery will be free to inspect at random any fixed-charge notice cancellation and report his findings on the operation of the system to the Minister. The practical arrangements for him to take up this role are being put in place at present. Three people will now be charged with making those decisions and the criteria are much sharper. That is evidence of real change. Any reasonable person considering this and other reforms would accept we are seeing real cultural and administrative change within the force.

I will shortly begin the process of advertising for applications for membership of the police authority and putting in place a shadow board. I expect the authority to be up and running in the course of this year.

Any reasonable person would see the Minister is not prepared to answer all my questions. Were any sanctions or disciplines imposed on people found to be out of step in the GPSU report? What was the outcome of the internal disciplinary proceedings against the three gardaí referred to in the O'Mahoney report? The Garda Síochána (Amendment) (No. 3) Act 2015 is weak but at least there is something in it. When will that legislation be commenced and will it be done in its entirety? The Minister did not answer my question about the importance of ensuring there is some independent oversight of the steering group that was established to implement the recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate report. Finally, we wish things were better and had changed in the wake of the appointment of the new Commissioner but the reality is there are two Garda whistleblowers claiming that in the case of two internal investigations the person against whom they made a complaint was kept informed about the investigation while the complainants were harassed. How in God's name is this different from what was going on before?

The Taoiseach asked the Deputy for information when the Deputy raised this matter with him. If he has information, he should supply it.

The Garda has the information.

Regarding disciplinary proceedings, I will get an update on that issue and put it on the record of the House. I understand the investigation in that regard is ongoing. It is important that An Garda Síochána should take responsibility to implement the many findings of the Garda Inspectorate report. There are short-term, medium-term and longer-term recommendations included in the report. The Garda authorities are getting on with that work and are in ongoing contact with the Garda Inspectorate. The latter is an independent body which clearly has an interest in the implementation of its recommendations, as does my Department. Many initiatives have been undertaken by An Garda Síochána to begin the implementation of the Garda Inspectorate report.