Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015: Committee Stage (Resumed)

Amendments Nos. 104 to 108, inclusive, are related and will be discussed together. However, as neither Deputy Finian McGrath nor Deputy Wallace is present, amendments Nos. 104 and 105 cannot be moved. Amendment No. 106 cannot be moved because Deputy Mac Lochlainn is not present. Amendment No. 107 cannot be moved because Deputies Finian McGrath and Mac Lochlainn are not present. As neither Deputy Finian McGrath nor Deputy Wallace is present, amendment No. 108 cannot be moved.

Amendments Nos. 104 to 108, inclusive, not moved.
Section 31 agreed to.
SECTION 32

Amendment No. 109 cannot be moved because Deputy Wallace is not present. Amendments Nos. 110 and 140 are related and would have been discussed together. However, Deputy Mac Lochlainn is not present and amendment No. 110 cannot be moved as a result.

Amendments Nos. 109 and 110 not moved.
Section 32 agreed to.
Amendment No. 111 not moved.
Sections 33 and 34 agreed to.
Amendment No. 112 not moved.
Section 35 agreed to.

Amendment No. 113 is in the name of Deputy Mac Lochlainn. As the Deputy is not present, the amendment cannot be moved.

SECTION 44

Amendment No. 113 not moved.
Section 36 agreed to.
Sections 37 and 38 agreed to.
Amendment No. 114 not moved.
Sections 39 to 43, inclusive, agreed to.

Amendment No. 115 in the name of Deputy Mac Lochlainn has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 115 not moved.

Amendment No. 116 has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 116 not moved.

Amendment No. 117 is in the name of Deputy Niall Collins. Amendments Nos. 117 to 138, inclusive, are being discussed together. Amendment No. 126 is a physical alternative to amendment No. 125. As Deputy Collins is not present, his amendments cannot be moved.

Amendments Nos. 117 and 118 not moved.

As neither Deputy McGrath or Wallace are present, the amendments in the name of Deputy McGrath cannot be moved.

Amendments Nos. 119 to 125, inclusive, not moved.

As Deputy Mac Lochlainn is not present, his amendment cannot be moved.

Amendment No. 126 not moved.

Amendment No. 127 is in the names of Deputies Mac Lochlainn and McGrath. As neither are present, the amendment cannot be moved.

Amendment No. 127 not moved.
Amendments Nos. 128 to 140, inclusive, not moved.

As neither Deputies Mac Lochlainn, McGrath or Wallace are present, amendments Nos. 141 to 154, inclusive, cannot be moved.

Amendments Nos. 141 to 154, inclusive, not moved.

Amendment No. 155 is in the name of the Minister. Amendment No. 156 is consequential on amendment No. 155. Amendments Nos. 155 and 156 will be discussed together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 155:

In page 43, between lines 12 and 13, to insert the following:

“(6) The Minister may request the Authority to prepare and submit to him or her, within the period specified in the request, a report in respect of any matter relating to policing services, and the Authority shall comply with the request.”.

The purpose of this amendment is to make provision for the Minister for Justice and Equality under 620(6) to request the authority to submit to him or her a report on any matter relating to policing services. Such reports could prove useful in the context of, for example, the development of policy in relation to policing services.

Having considered the wording of this amendment further, the Minister considers that requiring the authority to submit a report within the period specified is not fully appropriate in the context of the independence of the authority. Accordingly, the Minister is considering bringing forward an amendment on Report Stage to modify this provision by requiring the provision of the report as soon as the authority is in a position to do so, rather than within a specified timeframe.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 156:

In page 43, line 13, to delete “(6) The Minister shall” and substitute the following:

“(7) The Minister shall”.

Amendment agreed to.

As neither Deputies McGrath or Wallace are present, amendments in the name of Deputy Finian McGrath cannot be moved.

Amendments Nos. 157 to 162, inclusive, not moved.
Section 44, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 45 to 47, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 48

Amendment Nos. 163 to 165, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 163:

In page 47, line 23, to delete “and”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 164:

In page 47, line 25, to delete “or (5)”.” and substitute “or (5)”, and”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 165:

In page 47, between lines 25 and 26, to insert the following:

“(d) by the addition of the following subsection after subsection (6):

“(7) Notwithstanding subsections (4A) and (5)—

(a) the Authority may refer to the Ombudsman Commission any matter relating to policing services, and

(b) the Minister may refer to the Ombudsman Commission any matter, that gives rise to a cause for concern that a member of the Garda Síochána may have done anything referred to in subsection (4) for the Commission to consider whether the matter is one that it should investigate under that subsection.”.”.

The purpose of the amendment is to insert a new subsection into section 102 to enable the authority or Minister to refer matters to GSOC for consideration as to where GSOC should initiate a public interest investigation under section 102(4). Section 48 of the Bill inserts a new subsection 4(a) into section 102 which enables the authority to refer matters to GSOC for investigation. This provision replicates a similar power for the Minister to that in section 102(5).

Referral under these provisions will always result in GSOC initiating an investigation. This is appropriate where the authority or Minister is satisfied that an investigation should be initiated. However, there is no mechanism under the current provisions to deal with a situation where, for example, the authority or the Minister is uncertain as to whether an investigation is required or where GSOC might have already completed an investigation but the authority or Minister is unaware of this fact. The amendments now being proposed seek to address the situation by allowing the authority or the Minister to refer matters to GSOC on the basis that it will determine whether an investigation under section 102(4) is warranted. Amendments Nos. 163 and 164 are technical amendments.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 48, as amended, agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 166 to 168, inclusive, not moved.
Section 49 agreed to.
Sections 50 to 56, inclusive, agreed to.
Amendment No. 169 not moved.
Section 57 agreed to.
Amendment No. 170 not moved.
Section 58 agreed to.
Sections 59 to 61, inclusive, agreed to.
Schedule agreed to.
TITLE
Question proposed: "That the Title be the Title to the Bill."

I wish to reiterate the fact that we will table an amendment to section 44(62H) on Report Stage. I mentioned it in my previous remarks.

Once the Minister of State has mentioned, then we have it.

Question put and agreed to.

I again thank the Minister of State and his officials for attending.

Bill reported with amendments.