Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Questions (261)

Niall Collins


261. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the competent authority to investigate allegations of corruption within An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46556/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I would first point out that, as the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) was established as a statutory independent body under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, to provide independent oversight of complaints made against members of the Garda Síochána. The Policing and Community Safety Bill, which is being developed by my Department, will repeal and replace the Garda Síochána Act 2005. One of its elements will be to reform the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission to reinforce its independence and to streamline its processes for handling complaints.

Within an Garda Síochána, I am informed that there is an Internal Affairs Unit which comes under the remit of the Assistant Commissioner Governance and Accountability. This comprises the Discipline, Complaints and Compensations Sections, as well as a GSOC Liaison Office.

The Deputy may also wish to be aware that the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing, published and endorsed by Government in 2018, provides a clear vision for a modern, highly professional, human-rights based police service. A Policing Service for the Future, the four year implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations of the Commission, was published in December 2018.

Among the actions contained within the Implementation Plan is the development of a new Anti-Corruption Unit by An Garda Síochána, as part of a revised discipline system. I am informed that this project is currently at the planning stage. I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that a Chief Superintendent and Detective Superintendent are carrying out the preliminary work on developing the unit, to ensure that it is developed in line with best international practice. I am further informed that there are currently no Garda staff assigned to the unit.

I understand that work is underway on all of these actions, in line with the timelines set out in A Policing Service for the Future.