7th March 2017
The Government has approved a proposal by the Tánaiste to prepare draft amendments to the Garda Síochána Act 2005.
The legislation will primarily amend Part 4 of the Act, which is related to the investigation by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) of complaints against members of the Gardaí.
The Tánaiste said “I am committed to ensuring that we have the most effective possible mechanism for the investigation of complaints. I met the Chairperson of GSOC in early January in the context of considering what changes might be desirable. I have also examined the recent report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality’s Report on Garda Governance and Oversight. These will be important contributions to the preparation of amendments. But I will also, of course, be consulting with others.
“The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has a hugely important role in ensuring that public confidence in the Garda Síochána is safeguarded. It has extensive powers under the 2005 Act to enable it to carry out its responsibilities. Significant changes were made to the powers of GSOC in the last two years including making GSOC a designated body for receiving protected disclosures.”
GSOC has been operating for 10 years and the Tánaiste believes it is time to examine fundamentally the legislative provisions relating to the manner in which complaints are made to and dealt with by GSOC. The purpose is to enable GSOC to carry out its functions more effectively and efficiently and continue to ensure proper accountability of the Garda Síochána in providing a service to the public.