Legislation extending power of GSOC will increase confidence in Gardaí

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal and member of the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Farrell, has welcomed the publication of new legislation by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD which will strengthen the powers and remit of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

“I am pleased that new legislation has been published which will strengthen GSOC and reform their relationship with An Garda Síochána. It is very encouraging to see that the Government has taken quick and decisive action on this matter, as we work to fully restore public confidence in the workings of An Garda Síochána.

“The new legislation, published by the Minister for Justice and Equality, will bring the Garda Commissioner within the remit of GSOC for the first time and it will give GSOC greater powers to carry out examinations of the practices, policies and procedures of the Garda force.

“In the past, one of GSOC’s greatest obstacles in carrying out investigations was a long delay between the time information was requested and when it was made available. This legislation will ensure that information is passed from An Garda Síochána to GSOC as soon as is practicable after the information is sought, and it will extend the powers of GSOC in terms of investigating complaints involving suspected criminal behaviour.

“I have no doubt that these measures will serve to strengthen public confidence in An Garda Síochána who carry out such important work in our communities. The implementation of this legislation before the appointment of the new Garda Commissioner, who will be recruited through an open competition, would be beneficial. This would allow for the effective transition to a more open and transparent system of justice in Ireland.

“This legislation is only one element of the reform programme which is being implemented by this Government and I look forward to contributing to the debate when the legislation comes before the Dáil.”