Thursday, 1 February 2018

Ceisteanna (161)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

161. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the request from the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission in regard to new legislation to give it independence from his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5149/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2017, the Government approved the drafting of the heads of a Bill to address a number of operational issues that had been brought to the attention of my predecessor by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). That work has progressed and I expect to be in a position to update my Government colleagues shortly.

Meanwhile, in May 2017, the Government established the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (the Commission). The Commission's remit requires it to review the police oversight architecture including how complaints against members of An Garda Síochána are handled.

In parallel with the Commission's review, GSOC sent me proposals for more fundamental reform of the legislation, including in relation to its independence, in December. Given its remit, I have referred these proposals to the Commission as an input to its work and I am aware that GSOC has engaged with the Commission in its own right. The Commission is due to report in September and I look forward to receiving its proposals.

In summary, work has progressed in relation to the drafting of heads of a Bill to address some operational issues that had been raised by GSOC, while the more fundamental reform issues, including those regarding its independence, have been referred to the Commission for its consideration.