Thursday, 26 February 2004

Questions (47)

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

45 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on whether chapter three of the Garda Síochána Bill 2004 raises the prospect of political interference in the policing of the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6356/04]

View answer

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

Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the Garda Síochána Bill will provide, for the first time, a clear statutory definition of the respective roles of the Minister and the Commissioner in relation to policing with appropriate checks and balances.

I believe that the provisions of the chapter, far from being a vehicle for political interference, are instead a balanced mechanism for accountability to the Government and Oireachtas while providing the Commissioner with the necessary authority to exercise his policing functions efficiently and with efficacy.

I have to respect the fact that the Garda Síochána Bill will be debated next week in the Seanad and it would be inappropriate if this House were to pre-empt their discussions on any aspect of the Bill. I do not wish therefore to start going into any more detail on items which are appropriate to the Second Stage or Committee Stage debate on the Bill.