Obstacles to Garda Reform must be dismantled – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has expressed his concern at the publication today of the 5th Policing Authority Report in to the implementation of the changing policing in Ireland programme.
The Cork South-Central TD said:
“It is alarming that the Policing Authority now believe that the entire reform process being undertaken by an Garda Síochána is fundamentally flawed.
“I, like many others, would have had concerns about the excruciatingly slow pace of change and the poor implementation of the Changing Policing in Ireland report. In this report, there has been no significant progress in terms of completion of recommendations since the previous report.
“However, more seriously, this report identifies serious failings within the Garda Síochána’s Modernisation and Renewal Programme, the vehicle within the Gardaí responsible for delivering change, in and of itself.
“That shows that efforts at reform are coming up against obstacles, some of which is due to a lack of planning, focus, and vision, from Garda Management itself.
“The report states that there is a lack of coordinated strategy Human Resources, training, ICT, and accommodation that support an agreed vision for an Garda Síochána, specifically as it expands.
“This is underlined by the ongoing situation regarding the Military Road redevelopment, which cannot accommodate all those due to depart Harcourt Square.
“The issues relating to the reliance on probationers is apparent in every district, and experienced Gardaí are being lost by core units, to specialist units.
“The report is particularly critical in relation to training. This is a finding which has come up again and again, and it echoes the point made in the Shannon Report that ‘on the job’ training is privileged over formal, proper training. That is not good enough in a modern policing force, and is well illustrated by the lack of Gardaí who are properly trained to do something as fundamental as drive a car at high speed.
“I share the concern and alarm of the Policing Authority at the fact that the Management and Reform Programme is clearly stuck in a rut, and it is essential that an Garda Síochána do not allow any obstacles to change not simply see themselves as passive facilitators of reform, but as drivers.”