Mac Lochlainn responds to the Minister for Justice’s comments on Garda reform
Sinn Féin TD and Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has said that the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, is ‘missing the bigger picture’ on Garda reform following her comments at the MacGill Summer School yesterday.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“While I agree that the structures of An Garda Síochána have undergone significant changes in the past year, I don’t think that these changes have brought about the sort of reform that is needed.
“The Minister has failed to devolve the necessary authority that the Gardaí require if they are to be an independent, accountable and transparent force capable of facing the challenges of modern day policing.
“Any structural changes made to An Garda Síochána to date have only paid lip service to reform and this will continue to be the case for as long as such structures remain centralised.
“In addition to this, the delay in establishing the new Policing Authority is unacceptable. The Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill should have been brought before the Dáil long ago in order to allow for a proper debate on what such an Authority should look like and what its functions should be.
“Sinn Féin’s position remains the same. The independence of the Authority, as currently outlined in the Bill, must be strengthened and its functions expanded to include holding the Garda Commissioner to account, in order for the Authority to be effective.
“The Minister should consider measures to address how best to devolve authority to An Garda Síochána. This is the only way to bring about the reform that is necessary.”