The policing services in this state could learn a lot from their counterparts in the North, according to Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Health, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin T.D.
The Cavan/Monaghan T.D. was speaking during tonight’s Sinn Féin PMB on the GSOC controversy.
“At the root of the current controversy is the failure of successive Governments to reform and modernise the Garda Siochána and to provide for robust accountability for the police service. The Garda Siochána Act of 2005 went some way towards reform but fell far short of what was required.
“The establishment of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission was a step forward which we welcomed at the time. But we also pointed out its shortcomings. Its powers are insufficient; the limits on it are too restrictive.
“With all respect to others in the Oireachtas, no-one can speak with more experience and more authority than Sinn Féin on the long and painstaking task of transforming policing in the Six Counties. It has been one of the most fundamental aspects of the entire Peace Process. While the task is far from over, it can also be said that it has been one of the successes of the Peace Process.
“In the North we have replaced the RUC, a highly militarised, politicised and sectarian police force, with a record of sustaining a one-party state and later taking the front line in the British government’s counter-insurgency war. In its place the Police Service of Northern Ireland was established and, while very far from perfect and with much work still to be done, it has begun the complete transformation of policing. This, of course, could only have happened in the context of a Peace Process and a political process based on parity of esteem and inclusivity. We in Sinn Féin have played a key role in that achievement.
“It is one of the ironies of history and of the Peace Process that we now have a situation where policing reform is more advanced in the North than it is in this State.”