Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal and Member of the Oireachtas Committee for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Farrell, has today (Wednesday) supported calls to look towards international best practise as a basis for a reformed, invigorated and transparent police force in Ireland.
“Today we had some excellent contributions from a number of stakeholders on the effectiveness of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 in relation to oversight of An Garda Síochana. Representatives addressed the committee on a range of issues and while they provided varying, and at times conflicting views, I am confident that open dialogue of this kind will be successful in moving towards a new era of policing.
“One of the major issues discussed today was that of investigating complaints made against the Garda Commissioner. It was the opinion of the Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) chairman Simon O’Brien that his organisation should conduct these investigations. Though he was supported on this issue by a number of other contributors, including Transparency Ireland, they did not agree on who should take responsibility for the Office of the Garda Confidential Recipient. Transparency Ireland were critical of a system where there is no separation between those who advise whistleblowers and those who investigate their claims.
“Today’s discussions were very informative as they provided a vital opportunity to hear the recommendations on changes to the Act and reformed practises regarding oversight of An Garda Síochana.
“Organisations such as the Irish Human Rights Commission, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Irish Traveller Movement, Amnesty International Ireland, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors and the Bar Council of Ireland, among others, have immense knowledge and a lot to offer to the Justice Committee.
“Committee members are listening to all opinions and outlooks during these discussions. It is essential that we engage in this type of open and productive dialogue as we address amending legislation and restoring the public’s confidence in the workings of the Department of Justice and An Garda Síochana.
“It is my belief that we should utilise the vast knowledge we have in Ireland, but in parallel we need to look further afield. It is essential to look to other countries and to see how they do it. Amendments made to the Garda Síochána Act 2005 must be informed by best practises across the world. There is no reason why Ireland cannot aim to reach and maintain the very best standards”