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An Garda Síochána

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (130)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

130. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Dlí agus Cirt cén fáth nach bhfuil freagra aici go fóill dom ar mo cheisteanna faoin ísliú stádais a thug sí don Ghaeilge sa Gharda Síochána, go háirithe Ceisteanna Parlaiminte uimhir 536 agus 537 a cuireadh uirthi an 9 Samhain 2021, in ainneoin go raibh an tAire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán in ann eolas a thabhairt dúinn maidir leis an gceist chéanna ina freagra ar Cheist uimhir 308, a cuireadh uirthi an lá céanna; an bhfreagróidh sí na ceisteanna sin anois; agus cén fáth a bhfuair sí réidh le riachtanas Gaeilge don Gharda Síochána agus do Choimisinéir an Gharda Síochána, tar éis di a admháil go bhfuil gá cur leis an nGaeilge san eagraíocht, tar éis gur sháraigh siad an dlí de réir tuarascála ón gCoimisinéir Teanga a leagadh faoi bhráid Thithe an Oireachtais. [57953/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (6 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Justice)

Baineann an cheist seo leis an athrú atá tarlaithe agus atá déanta ag an Aire maidir leis an scrúdú béil Gaeilge sa Gharda Síochána nuair a ardaítear duine ó leibhéal ghnáthgharda go dtí leibhéal sáirsint agus cén fáth gur tharla an t-athrú sin?

I will respond to the Deputy in English if that is okay. I regret that the Deputy has not received the response on time. I signed off on it so the Deputy should have had it at this stage. I apologise for the delay.

I can inform the Deputy that promotions to the ranks of sergeant and inspector in An Garda Síochána are governed by An Garda Síochána regulations of 2021. The new regulations mark a fundamental change by providing promotion competitions to the supervisory ranks of sergeant and inspector, which have previously been managed internally by An Garda Síochána, will for the first time be managed through the independent Public Appointments Service, PAS. An Garda Síochána (Amendment) Act requires that I as the Minister for Justice would consult with the Garda Commissioner and the Policing Authority prior to requesting Government approval to bring regulations concerning the operational matters of An Garda Síochána into effect.

The regulations were finalised following extensive engagement between my Department, the Public Appointments Service and An Garda Síochána, and in consultation with the Policing Authority and the associations. The previous regulations governing promotion to the sergeant rank required candidates to have passed a proficiency test in Irish and in the Irish language. As the Deputy is aware, entrants to An Garda Síochána already undergo extensive training, which includes training for proficiency in Irish. Following consultations between my Department, An Garda Síochána and the Policing Authority and the Public Appointments Service, it was agreed that the achievement of a 50% grade in the oral competency examination was not an essential requirement for candidates to be eligible for promotion to the ranks of sergeant or inspector. This was done in best keeping with other practice for other promotional competitions across the public sector, and also to ensure that we have as diverse a pool of candidates coming forward as possible, particularly for those promotion opportunities.

Development of the regulations was informed by the 2015 An Garda Síochána Inspectorate report Changing Policing in Ireland, which recommended establishing new promotions and selection processes, and by the 2015 audit by the Office of the Commission for Public Service Appointments, which found that An Garda Síochána regulations were outdated and needed to be reviewed.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire as an freagra sin. Fuair mé an freagra tar éis dom an cheist a chur isteach ach ní dhéileálann an freagra leis an gceist i gceart. Is í an cheist atá curtha ar an Aire ná sula ndearna sí an t-ordú a shíniú, ar labhair sí leis an Aire Stáit le freagracht i leith chúrsaí Ghaeilge agus Gaeltachta nó ar labhair sí leis an gCoimisinéir Teanga mar is ait go raibh Coimisinéir an Gharda Síochána os comhair Chomhchoiste na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus Phobal Labhartha na Gaeilge agus níor luaigh sé go raibh an t-athrú seo ag tarlú. Is a mhalairt de threo a bhí sé ag caint faoi nuair a bhí sé os ár gcomhair. Níl a fhios agam cén fáth nach bhfuil an lámh ar chlé ag labhairt leis an lámh ar dheis agus nach n-aithníonn an córas Stáit go bhfuil fadhb bhunúsach ann maidir le leibhéal seirbhísí i nGaeilge ón nGarda Síochána.

People are speaking to each other in this regard, and the Commissioner has engaged with my Department, and obviously has taken on board recommendations from An Coimisinéir Teanga and from the Minister with responsibility for this area. On that basis, and acknowledging that there are issues that need to be addressed here, the new Irish language strategy has been developed by An Garda Síochána, and I am advised by the Garda authorities that this is due to be launched in the coming weeks. The overall aim of the strategy is to try to strengthen Irish language services within An Garda Síochána to try to ensure compliance with the statutory language obligations that exist. The first online resource by Gaelchultúr and the new fáinne Gaeilge from An Garda Síochána will also be launched alongside strategy. It is important that we do not prevent anybody from progressing and improving his or her standing within An Garda Síochána because he or she does not have the general proficiency in the Irish language.

We need to ensure we encourage more engagement and have more people who are proficient in the Irish language. That in itself will make a significant difference overall.

Go gasta, beidh sé níos dúshlánaí anois na seirbhísí cuí agus bunreachtúla a thabhairt do phobal na Gaeilge, agus go háirithe do phobal na Gaeltachta, má tá an t-athrú seo ann agus má tá níos lú sáirsintí gan Gaeilge amach anseo.

The implementation of the report will go a long way in addressing many of the issues and concerns raised by the Deputy.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.
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