The question makes reference to the Smithwick tribunal. However, the report of the Smithwick tribunal of inquiry makes no recommendation on the recruitment or promotion of members of An Garda Síochána. I believe the article in The Irish Times may have mentioned that.
The Deputy is referring to the recommendations of the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland on the governance of An Garda Síochána. The Government is committed to rapidly implementing the commission's report and in that context to introduce the policing and community safety Bill. Work on the development of the general scheme of this Bill is at an advanced stage in my Department. Following consultations with the Garda Commissioner and the oversight bodies, including the Policing Authority and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, which are under way at present on the detail of the proposals, I hope to bring the matter before Cabinet in the near future. I hope the Deputy will appreciate that this consultative process is under way and the question of approval or definitively stating whether something will happen will be a matter for the Government in the normal way.
It may be helpful to set out the background and the rationale to the proposals that are currently the subject of consultation and covered in the Deputy's question. As the Deputy will recall, the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, chaired by Kathleen O’Toole and comprising a group of national and international experts drawn from diverse backgrounds, was established by the previous Government to undertake a fundamental examination of all aspects of policing, including all functions undertaken by An Garda Síochána and the bodies that have a role in providing oversight - the Policing Authority, the Garda Síochána Inspectorate, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, my Department and the Government. The commission's 2018 report followed wide-ranging consultations and intensive deliberations. All the recommendations were accepted by Government, including the recommendations the Deputy mentioned. These have been included the four-year plan, A Policing Service for our Future (2019-2022), to support its implementation and under which, I am pleased to say, much has been achieved.
The policing and community safety Bill is an important element of that plan. It will, as I have said, provide a new coherent governance and oversight framework for policing. Essentially it is proposed that the inspectorate and the Policing Authority will merge into one new body. GSOC will remain but have a change of name. There will be an oversight board.