Cabinet approves heads of Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2014 to reform and strengthen workings of GSOC
· Garda Commissioner to come under GSOC remit
· Time limit for lodging complaints extended to 12 months
· GSOC’s investigative powers to be extended
· Issues raised in Cooke Report to be addressed
Cabinet also approves new mechanism for review of allegations received by Government
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice & Equality has today welcomed the approval by Government of two sets of proposals aimed at restoring confidence in the performance, administration and oversight of policing in Ireland.
Firstly the Cabinet has agreed the heads and General Scheme of the Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2014 which proposes a number of reforms to the remit, functions and operation of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). Details of the draft heads of the Bill are listed below.
Secondly, Government approves the establishment of a new Independent Review Mechanism for consideration of allegations received by Government. A panel of legal Counsel, identified by the Office of the Attorney General, is to be established. Members of the panel will examine the papers on each case and make recommendations to the Minister on whether further action is needed, such as referral to GSOC.
Both proposals were brought to Cabinet by Minister Fitzgerald following discussions at the Cabinet Committee on Justice Reform.
Minister Fitzgerald stated: “Today’s decisions by Cabinet represent a further step forward for the Government’s comprehensive justice reform programme.”
“By reforming and strengthening workings of GSOC; and addressing outstanding allegation against Gardai, I hope these changes will greatly assist in our task of restoring confidence in the performance, administration and oversight of policing in Ireland.”
“These measures, together with the planned establishment of an independent Garda Authority and the opening-up of recruitment process for Garda Commissioner, marks the start of the sea-change I promised on coming to office as Minister for Justice.”