Government agrees ‘comprehensive response’ to Guerin Report –
Statement by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD
Tuesday 13 May 2014
· Decision to establish Commission of Investigation as proposed in the Guerin Report
· Garda Inspectorate to carry out a comprehensive inquiry into serious crime investigation, management, operational and procedural issues
· Cabinet agree to urgently bring forward new legislation to strengthen the operation of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission
· Independent expert review of performance, management and administration of Department of Justice
· Independent Garda Authority to be up and running by the end of the year;
· New Garda Commissioner to be recruited by open competition in parallel with establishment of authority.
Minister says “spectrum of complex and deep-rooted issues requires comprehensive and sustained corrective action.”
The Government has today agreed a set of measures in response to the Guerin Report on foot of proposals brought to today’s Government meeting by the Minister for Justice & Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD.
“Today’s decisions by Government represent a comprehensive response to the serious and varied spectrum of issues raised in the Guerin Report,” said Minister Fitzgerald.
The Minister noted that many of the grave issues now being debated, raised in the Guerin Report and beyond, were the subject of previous reports, particularly that of the Morris Tribunal. “This spectrum of issues is complex and deep-rooted ranging from high-level issues such as oversight, change management and the role of whistle-blowers; to local administration and internal communication; to matters of basic policing, performance and human resources. It requires comprehensive and sustained corrective action. And that’s what will happen.”
The Government today decided to establish a Commission of Investigation to investigate the issues identified in the report by Mr. Seán Guerin SC. The terms of reference have yet to be finalised but will be in line with those proposed by Mr. Guerin.
Minister Fitzgerald confirmed that she is to ask the Garda Inspectorate to carry out a comprehensive inquiry into serious crime investigation, management, operational and procedural issues arising from the findings of the report by Mr Guerin, taking into account the implementation of recommendations already made by the Inspectorate in earlier reports and also work currently under way by the Inspectorate.
The Minister stated: “The Guerin Report raises many serious concerns in relation to professional standards, training, supervision of probationary Gardaí, local management of the force and many more issues.”
“It is absolutely essential that we need to act on the findings of the Guerin Report in relation to basic policing and day-to-day management of the force at district level.”
“With all the focus on high level matters, we must not lose sight of the need to address these basic policing matters. I am committed that we will learn and change in response to the Guerin findings and I am further committed to ensuring that the men and women of An Garda Síochána have the support they need to carry out their duties and responsibilities professionally and effectively.
“I am committed to the implementation of the reforms of police practice recommended by Guerin and I will be having further discussions with the Garda Commissioner on this matter.
“However I see the Garda Inspectorate as having an increasingly pro-active role in delivering a standards-led approach to better policing in Ireland.
The Government today agreed to urgently bring forward new legislation to strengthen the operation of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. This will be advised by the work of the Joint Oireachtas Committee.
The Government had agreed to the Minister’s proposals for an independent expert review of the performance, management and administration of Department of Justice. This will be undertaken and completed before the Summer recess. Further details of this independent expert review will be announced shortly.
“I have committed to root and branch reform of the administration of justice in this country and this includes the Government Department responsible for this area.”
The measures agreed today build on recent Government decisions, including:
· Independent Garda Authority to be established, to be up and running by the end of the year;
· New Garda Commissioner to be recruited by open competition.
The Cabinet Committee on Justice Reform, chaired by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, will meet next week to progress work on the matters discussed by and agreed by Government and to set out a timeframe for implementation.