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Question

51. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is aware of the severe criticism of the resource and process limitations of the Independent Review Mechanism tasked with examining allegations of malpractice in An Garda Síochána; and if she is considering a new independent process or recourse for concerned citizens or families. [42497/15]

Answer

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: The Government decided to establish the Independent Review Mechanism, IRM, in order to bring an independent examination to bear on allegations of wrong-doing by gardaí. This initiative went far beyond anything which any previous Government has done and was a genuine effort to have an independent examination of many cases which Deputies had on their desks, were concerned about and which were brought to the attention of various people. It was not established as a commission of inquiry or investigation. Its purpose was to triage the allegations to see whether further action was needed and what that action would be. It was open to the IRM to suggest any form of statutory inquiry it thought might be necessary and the gardaí and others cooperated fully with it.
The panel has provided recommendations to me in all 320 cases submitted to it and has therefore largely concluded its work. I am sure I will receive several other cases shortly. I started sending out letters on 29 June. To date, 298 complainants have been notified of the outcome of the review of their cases. Letters will continue to issue.
I have accepted the recommendations of counsel in all cases and this outcome will be communicated to all complainants; and I have previously assured Deputies where further investigation is recommended by the review that will occur. There are quite a number of recommendations in the various cases.
Some complainants may not be satisfied with the outcome of the review of their complaint. The crucial point, however, is that every case has been reviewed by independent counsel, who will have made an objective recommendation to me and the letter I have sent out has been overseen by a judge. I did not summarise the advice, it came to me and a judge was satisfied with the way we were communicating with people.
The cases referred ranged considerably from tragic deaths to property disputes. There were many that did not fall within the criteria laid down; they were not particularly about Garda behaviour. With respect to the cases for which the panel has recommended no further action by the Minister, it should be noted that the reasons for this recommendation vary greatly but include the fact that the complaint disclosed no allegation of any wrongdoing by the gardaí; the case related to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which is independent of the Minister in relation to decisions as to whether or not a prosecution is warranted; or the case related to the courts, which are also independent. There are many cases which have already been through the courts, up to the highest level of court, and have been through the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC. Where the recommendation was for further action, I have acted in all instances on that. They vary quite considerably.