The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has noted the publication by the Public Accounts Committee on its Report on Financial Procedures at the Garda College, Templemore.
The Minister stated:
“The findings and recommendations of the PAC Report will be examined carefully to see what actions are necessary and appropriate on foot of them. This report follows on from the Interim Audit Report by the Garda Internal Audit Service in relation to the financial procedures in the Garda College and published in March 2017.
The Garda authorities have stated that they understand the gravity of the issues identified in the Interim Audit Report and are taking comprehensive steps to progress its recommendations as quickly as possible.
The independent Policing Authority is also overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Interim Audit Report and I expect to receive its first report shortly.
“Further investigations are underway including an investigation by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission on foot of a referral from the Commissioner of suspected fraudulent activity in relation to certain EU training funds.
“The culture of the organisation is also referred to in the PAC report. The need for cultural change is at the heart of the extensive programme of reform underway in An Garda Síochána based on the reports of the Garda Inspectorate and under the independent oversight of the Policing Authority. A key reform in this regard is the plan to increase the number of civilians in the organisation to bring a new perspective including at the senior management levels. An Executive Director of Strategy and Transformation has recently been appointed to head up the reform programme and two further senior appointments are in train.
“The only way to deliver world class policing in Ireland is to ensure that An Garda Síochána has the resources it needs and that those resources operate in an organisation whose culture is open and responsive and where the best management systems and practices are deployed. We are confident that the reform plan that is being pursued by the Commissioner, supported by the Government and overseen by the Policing Authority, has the capacity to achieve this. It will not be done overnight and it will not be done easily, but with the necessary support and oversight, it can be achieved over the next four years.
“In addition the work of the Commission on the Future of Policing is well underway and I was pleased to meet the Commission this week.”