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.
Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015: Committee Stage (Resumed)
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.
Amendment No. 113 is in the name of Deputy Mac Lochlainn. As the Deputy is not present, the amendment cannot be moved.
Amendment No. 115 in the name of Deputy Mac Lochlainn has been ruled out of order.
Amendment No. 116 has been ruled out of order.
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.
As neither Deputy McGrath or Wallace are present, the amendments in the name of Deputy McGrath cannot be moved.
As Deputy Mac Lochlainn is not present, his amendment cannot be moved.
Amendment No. 127 is in the names of Deputies Mac Lochlainn and McGrath. As neither are present, the amendment cannot be moved.
As neither Deputies Mac Lochlainn, McGrath or Wallace are present, amendments Nos. 141 to 154, inclusive, cannot be 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.
I move amendment No. 156:
In page 43, line 13, to delete “(6) The Minister shall” and substitute the following:
“(7) The Minister shall”.
As neither Deputies McGrath or Wallace are present, amendments in the name of Deputy Finian McGrath cannot be moved.
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”.
I move amendment No. 164:
In page 47, line 25, to delete “or (5)”.” and substitute “or (5)”, and”.
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.
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.
I again thank the Minister of State and his officials for attending.