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Sinn Féin calls for Garda management oversight independent of Gardaí and Government

3 April, 2007

Responding to claims made by the President of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, that Minister for Justice and Tánaiste Michael McDowell is interfering with the running of the force, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said:

"Political policing poses as great a threat to democracy as Garda corruption. It is for this reason that Sinn Féin advocates the introduction of management, oversight and accountability mechanisms that are truly independent of both the Gardaí and of the government of the day.

"All senior positions within An Garda Síochána and every mechanism introduced by the government relating to Garda reform are made up of ministerial appointees. This government's reform programme falls far short of the Patten model and hence of this government's obligations under the Good Friday Agreement also.

"The latest example of this is the Garda Síochána Executive Management Board outlined in the Criminal Justice Bill 2007. The board as envisaged by the Minister will be chaired by the Garda Commissioner himself and the only members 'independent' of An Garda Síochána will be Ministerial appointees. It is high time Garda corruption, abuse and failures whether prompted by the political motivations of the Minister or undertaken by individual Gardaí seeking promotion are brought to an end. The alternative Bord An Gharda Síochána proposed in an amendment to the Bill by Sinn Féin would make a new beginning to policing in the 26 counties a real possibility because unlike the government proposal it would guarantee genuinely independent and non-partisan civilian input and oversight.

"As I said during the debate on the Criminal Justice Bill the Minister needs to properly resource the Gardaí if gangland and other crimes are to be addressed." ENDS

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