Thursday, 26 February 2004

Questions (23)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

19 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he intends to provide additional funds or resources to the Garda Complaints Board to allow it to better discharge its functions, pending the establishment of the Ombudsman Commission for the Garda; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6221/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

In the first instance, could I refer the Deputy to the 2002 annual report of the Garda Síochána Complaints Board which stated that although it had raised the issue of the absence of resources in the past, it acknowledged that there had been a positive response to this from my Department and, as a result, the board was in a stronger position to carry out its functions than previously, particularly in regard to tribunals.

I would also refer the Deputy to the publication by me on 17 February last of the Garda Síochána Bill 2004, which specifically provided for the replacement of the current Garda Síochána Complaints Board with a new, fully independent, Garda Ombudsman Commission.

The financial allocation of the board has been increased from €1.43 million in 2003 to €2.472 million in 2004. This additional allocation will provide,inter alia, initial funding for the set-up of the new Garda Ombudsman Commission when the Bill is passed by the Oireachtas. The increased allocation demonstrates my commitment to the continued funding of the complaints board and the establisment of the new commission as soon as is practicable.

Question No. 20 answered with QuestionNo. 12.