Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (433)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Ceist:

433. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 530 of 4 March 2014, if he will clarify which institution of the State, or to whom, a member of the public may submit a complaint in relation to the performance and function of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission; if the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is answerable or is open to scrutiny in respect of its performance to any parliamentary or State body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12152/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I presume the Parliamentary Question being referred to by the Deputy is number 530 answered on 25 February 2014, not 4 March 2014 as stated by the Deputy. Where a member of the public feels aggrieved over the level of service he or she has received from the Ombudsman Commission they may take this up with the Commission itself. As has been pointed out previously, the Garda Síochána Act 2005 provides that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is independent in the exercise of its functions. I have no role in the processing of individual complaints which are referred to the Ombudsman Commission for investigation.

The accountability of the Garda Ombudsman Commission is provided for under the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Section 78 of the Act provides that the Ombudsman Commission shall, whenever required to do, appear before the Public Accounts Committee. Section 79 provides the attendance of the Ombudsman Commission before other committees appointed by either or both Houses of the Oireachtas. In addition, the Ombudsman Commission is required under section 80 to submit an annual report of its activities in the preceding year to me as Minister, and this and other reports from the Ombudsman Commission are laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Deputy is, no doubt, aware that the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality has been requested to hold such hearings as it deems appropriate and necessary for the purpose of making any recommendations as to amendments it proposes be made to the 2005 Act concerning the oversight of the Garda Síochána. The Deputy may wish to consider raising at this forum any particular proposals he has in relation to the powers and remit of the Ombudsman Commission.