Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice and Equality, Pádraig MacLochlainn TD, has today welcomed the findings of the independent review group’s report into the Department of Justice and Equality. He also said that the Government cannot shirk their responsibility for the serious failings in the Department.
Deputy MacLochlainn said:
“The findings of this report highlight what we already knew about the ‘closed, secretive and silo driven culture’ within the Department of Justice and Equality.
“However, we also know that the political management of the Department by those who were democratically elected by the people was an absolute shambles. This is shown by the startling revelation that former Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who was in office for over three years, didn’t once meet with the Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate Bob Olson.
“The report unfortunately doesn’t clarify what happened on the now infamous night where the then General Secretary Brian Purcell was dispatched by his political masters to the house of former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan which clearly led to his resignation the next morning.
“So what we have had since then is a situation where the Minister himself and the Secretary General have had to move aside. We need the Taoiseach to urgently clarify what the message delivered was that night. We want answers.
“The confidence within the Department has been eroded and this has had a knock on effect on the delivery of policing and justice in this state.
“This report shows that there is a need for a new approach to the administration of policing and justice across the island.
“What has been uncovered amounts to very deep-rooted and systemic deficiencies within senior levels of An Garda Síochána and other institutions of the state.
“In May of this year, Sinn Féin published our policy document ‘A New Beginning to Policing – Proposals for Reform’ that outlined our recommendations on how to reform the current system and, in light of this report, I once again urge Minister Frances Fitzgerald to take them on board and consider their implementation.”