I move amendment No. 1:
In page 3, line 17, after “member” where it secondly occurs to insert “not below the rank of Sergeant”.
The amendment ensures that the person who would be a court presenter would not be below the rank of sergeant. This is the standard case throughout the country anyway and has been for many years. In fact, in most courts, an inspector would carry out these duties. In that context, it is important that this happens. I also consulted with many gardaí locally who have knowledge of the situation and they informed me that a sergeant has always carried out these duties. It is someone who has experience in dealing with the matters of the court and is au fait with the legislation going through the District Court at any time.
I understand that "any other such member" does not rule out a sergeant or anyone above the rank of sergeant. However, this wording would leave it open and in some case, somewhere in the country in the future, a rank-and-file garda could take up the position of court presenter. The garda may not have the necessary experience and may make a mistake about which a judge takes a dim view and a negative precedent is set. In that context, it is important to ensure that the person who carries out this work be a garda of sergeant rank or above. I ask the Minister to consider that amendment in the spirit in which it is intended. It is not to try to negate the importance of the legislation. The amendment is to make sure that the legislation is tight in that respect and recognises that expertise is vital and to ensure that it is a garda of sergeant rank or above that will carry out these duties.