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Make up of Garda Advisory Board extremely disappointing - Ó Snodaigh

3 August, 2006

Responding to Justice Minister Michael McDowell's announcement that the new civilian management advisory group to An Garda Siochána is to be composed of three wealthy business people and a senator Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh said he was extremely disappointed but not surprised that McDowell failed yet again to include a representative of the community sector in his appointments.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "I am not at all surprised that Michael McDowell has failed to include a representative of the community sector in his appointments to the Garda Advisory Group. He has never shown any regard for the views of the community sector. The make up of this group, three wealthy business people and a senator, is extremely disappointing.

"Differential and biased policing, often on the basis of community background, is a reality suffered by many in this state. It is a reality which the Minister consistently refuses to recognise. This was most recently evidenced when Garda Powers were increased through the Criminal Justice Bill without comparable steps being taken in terms of Garda accountability. The Minister is determined to deny communities a meaningful role in what should be their own police service. This determination was also evidenced by his refusal to consult NGOs and community groups in relation to the volunteer Garda reserve force.

"The reserve force is a poor substitute for proper community policing and if McDowell thinks he can address the structural corruption and abuses highlighted by the Morris Tribunal with superficial measures such as the reserve and this advisory group he is dangerously mistaken." ENDS

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