Written Answers. - Garda Disciplinary Proceedings.

Monica Barnes

Ceist:

95 Mrs. Barnes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the arrangements in place within an Garda Síochána for addressing allegations of sexual harassment made by a member of the Garda Síochána; if it is proposed to revise existing arrangements; and his views on whether existing arrangements are adequate. [26117/01]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that it is their policy to ensure that all members, including civilian staff, are free to perform their duties without the threat of sexual harassment.

I am further informed that all complaints are treated seriously with due regard for the sensitivity of the complainant. Due regard must also be had for the rights of the member complained of, bearing in mind that a complaint amounts to no more than an allegation unless the facts have been satisfactorily established by the investigation.
All complaints, reports and correspondence in relation to sexual harassment are treated with the utmost confidentiality and will not be available to any person who does not have direct responsibility for dealing with such complaints. I am further informed that the policy is currently being reviewed.
In addition to the arrangements in place within the Garda Síochána, I should also state that section 23 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998, provides that sexual harassment in the workplace may, in certain circumstances, constitute discrimination, on the gender ground, in relation to conditions of employment. As such, any person who claims to have been discriminated against by another in contravention of the Act may, subject to the provisions of the Act, seek redress by referring the matter to the director of equality investigations.