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McDowell's Inspectorate falls short of truly accountable policing service

5 August, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has described the plans for a Garda Inspectorate announced by Minister McDowell this afternoon as falling short of what's needed to establish a truly accountable best practice policing service.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "I welcome the Minister's decision to decouple the audit role planned for the Inspectorate from the office and investigative role of the Garda Ombudsman as we recommended in our policy document 'Policing for the People', and as was also recommended by the Human Rights Commission. However, from what the Minister described today his plans still don't go nearly far enough to establish the level of transparency and public accountability that are necessary to restore public confidence in the Gardai.

"In keeping with recognised international best practice, Sinn Féin believes that the Minister should instead establish a fully independent civilian Policing Board as an entity separate from both the Garda Siochána and from the Garda Ombudsman's office, to which the Garda Commissioner is accountable and which operates with full public transparency. Such a Policing Board for the Gardai would be the most appropriate body to carry out the functions the Minister appears to be assigning to the Inspectorate.

"Particularly in view of the very serious findings of the first report of the Morris Tribunal, I urge Michael McDowelll to embrace this recommendation and amend his legislative proposals to include the establishment of an independent civilian Policing Board. I also call on him to progress this as a matter of urgency when the Oireachtas resumes in September." ENDS

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