As the Deputy will be aware, the examination by the Policing Authority of Garda handling of Youth Crime has highlighted some disturbing issues. It is completely unacceptable that crimes were not properly pursued in many cases. This situation must be thoroughly addressed, not only for the victims and the proper administration of Justice, but also for the future welfare of children who may have committed crimes.
The Commissioner has indicated that disciplinary investigations will be considered by Divisional Officers in relation to individual members. The Deputy will appreciate that this is a matter for the Commissioner and his management team and any process of that kind has to be allowed to take its course and cannot be pre-judged.
The Garda authorities have taken a number of technical and organisational steps to prevent recurrence of the failures identified. While there have been significant improvements, there is more to be done to achieve a comprehensive solution. The Commissioner has also established a National Bureau for Child Diversion to improve future management of this whole area.
The Policing Authority, which was established to provide independent oversight of policing, has indicated that it will follow through with further detailed examination of this matter and the actions being taken by the Commissioner. I will also continue to monitor the situation closely.
The issues in question relate to youth crime cases deemed unsuitable for the Garda Diversion Programme. Therefore, it is important to recognise that there are no negative implications for the effectiveness of the Diversion Programme itself, which has been in operation successfully for many years, helping young offenders turn away from crime.
The specific details by Garda Division referred to by the Deputy have been requested from the Garda authorities, and I will contact the Deputy directly when a response is to hand.