Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has said her party is committed to producing amended legislation to address the structural flaws which place limitations on GSOC from fulfilling its role.
Speaking today, Deputy McDonald said:
“The existing legislation clearly presents barriers to allowing GSOC to fulfil its role as the body charged with conducting thorough, comprehensive and independent investigations into possible Garda misconduct.
“Currently GSOC does not have the power to investigate the Garda Commissioner. It is necessary that Ombudsman when conducting investigations can have oversight of and accountability from every level with an Garda Síochána, up to and including the Garda Commissioner.
“You cannot foster a policing culture based on the principle of accountability if the person at the top of the force is exempt from independent investigation.
“This needs to change.
“Moreover GSOC must have access to all the information held by An Garda Siochana.
“We cannot expect GSOC to arrive at credible conclusions regarding possible instances of Garda misconduct or corruption, in the absence of such access to Garda systems and documentation.
“There is great merit in the idea of creating an independent policing board similar to the body that exists in the North.
“We need to amend the legislation to give effect to these necessary changes.
“GSOC cannot fulfil its oversight role while its governing legislation ties its arms behind its back.”