111. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to a recently published report (details supplied); his views on the report’s finding that there has been a failure to comprehensively implement a human rights based approach throughout An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38219/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy refers to the recently published report of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) on a human rights-based approach to policing. I am aware of that report, which was provided to me and my Department by the ICCL. The report is a substantial one covering a broad range of topics and drawing in particular on the experience of policing reform in Northern Ireland. I expect that its analysis can contribute to public debate on these matters.
I would remind the Deputy that the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland was published earlier this week on 18 September. The report of the Commission has approached policing from a fresh perspective and has redefined policing as a multi-disciplinary, cross agency effort built on the foundation of protecting human rights. Indeed the report clearly states that human rights are the foundation and purpose of policing and recommends that An Garda Síochána should have a human rights strategy and a human rights unit to develop, implement and monitor that strategy.
The Commission’s report will now receive detailed consideration by Government and I and my Department will consult with the Garda Commissioner, other relevant Departments and Agencies on its implementation. Once that process is complete, I intend to seek the Government’s approval for a High-level Implementation Plan to take forward the Commission’s report. In addition, I have requested my Department, in consultation with the Department of the Taoiseach, to move quickly to put arrangements in place for the establishment of the Implementation Group for Policing Reform and Implementation Programme Office as recommended by the Commission.
I am confident that the centrality of human rights in policing, as raised by the Deputy, will receive appropriate attention as part of that process.