McDowell commences Garda Act provisions

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Michael McDowell, T.D., today signed the third commencement order under the Garda Síochána Act 2005. 

Making the order the Minister said, "The order, combined with the two previous orders made in 2005, means that the vast bulk of the provisions of the Act have been commenced and represents huge progress in implementing the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

The full implementation of the Garda Síochána Act is a key priority of mine and the recent Review of the Implementation of the Act undertaken by Senator Hayes' group showed that huge progress has been made on this front.

The passing of the Act and its speedy implementation which is underpinned by unprecedented financial resources for Garda Síochána proves beyond doubt that this Government is committed to the process of Garda reform and that reform is progressing at pace."

The Minister said that the order, which comes into effect on 31 March, repeals the main Garda Síochána Acts of 1924 and 1925 and brings in new provisions relating to the continuation of An Garda Síochána as a police service under the Act's provisions, with particular reference to a new modern statement about:

  • the functions of An Garda Síochána;
  • the appointment of the Garda Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioners,
  • and the appointment of members to other ranks;
  • the appointment of members of the new Garda Reserve;
  • a new form of solemn declaration to be made by new members of the Force;
  • a new code of ethics for the Force;

The Order also provides for:

  • comprehensive new rules on the roles of the Minister and the Garda Commissioner with regard to:

    • the declaration of priorities and the setting of performance targets;
    • the making of strategy statements;
    • the preparation of an annual policing plan and an annual report on the policing of the State during the year;
    • the preparation of 3 year reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of the management and deployment of resources available to An Garda Síochána;
    • the issuing of Ministerial directives;
    • the setting out of the functions of the Garda Commissioner in the light of modern conditions;
    • obtaining the views of the public about matters concerning policing and the state of crime;
  • the provision of police services for certain events and the imposition of charges thereafter;
  • important new rules relating to cooperation between An Garda Síochána and local authorities relating in particular to the establishment of Joint Policing Committees and security in public places by means of CCTV;
  • new rules on the duty of local authorities regarding the taking of steps to prevent crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour;
  • new provisions on special enquiries which may be ordered by the Minister;
  • provisions relating to the new Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission regarding  

    • the Commission entering into special personnel arrangements relating to the performance of its functions, and
    • the delegation of its functions;
  • the bringing into effect of all of the provisions relating to setting up the new Garda Inspectorate which will be focused on ensuring that the resources available to the Force are used to achieve and maintain the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness in the operation and administration of the Force. 

10 March, 2006