Appointment of Commissioner should not happen before Commission on future of policing reports – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire raised in the Dáil the issue of the premature appointment of a new Garda Commissioner before the Commission on the Future of Policing has completed its work.
Speaking afterwards, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;
“Sinn Féin has long been of the view that what we need in the South is a Patten type approach to the reform of policing in Ireland. It was in that context that we welcomed the establishment of a Policing Authority, which we had long called for, and the Commission on the Future of Policing.
“If there is to be the Patten type shift that is desired, apparently by all, then the Commission on the Future of Policing must be given the scope and space to consider fully all the matters in question; including what role a Commissioner and the senior staff of An Garda Síochána would have.
“In that sense we believe that Minister Flanagan should not rush this process, and any appointment of a Commissioner before the Commission has reported back would pre-empt the defined role of a new Commissioner.
“The Minister plans to start a process, in the coming weeks, which would take approximately 6 months to complete, therefore the appointment will happen mere weeks before the Commission reports back, potentially with signficant changes in what that role involves.
"The Chair of the Commission on the Future of Policing, Kathleen O’Toole, wrote to the Minister on this matter some months ago, and said that she felt it was very unlikely a 'credible candidate' would come forward and apply for the role of commissioner when so much uncertainty hangs over the commissioner’s role and that it would be a 'serious mistake' if a Garda commissioner was appointed without absolute clarity as to what the job would entail.
“I believe it would be a significant mistake. This appointment is potentially one of the most historic in history of An Garda Síochána, one which can set the tone for the future of policing.
“It is an appointment which we cannot afford to get wrong.”