739. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice the date on which her attention was drawn to the scope and scale of the latest iteration of wrongdoing regarding An Garda Síochána with respect to the cancellation and mislabelling of 999 emergency calls (details supplied); and if her attention and that of her officials had already been drawn to same in advance of the Policing Authority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52461/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): As the Deputy will be aware, Minister Humphreys addressed the House on this issue during Questions to the Minister for Justice on 21 October last. I wish to reiterate my view that any inappropriate cancellation of 999 calls is a very serious matter. This falls significantly below the high standards that the public expect from Gardaí and the high standards that An Garda Síochána sets for itself. I am particularly concerned that anyone experiencing domestic abuse or anyone in a vulnerable position who summoned the courage to seek assistance may not have received it.
I requested, last February, that the Policing Authority oversee the review being carried out by An Garda Síochána in regard to this matter and there have been a number of engagements between the authority and An Garda Síochána on this matter.
Insofar as the matters referred to in the statement from the Policing Authority are concerned, I am informed that my Department was advised of this development by the Garda authorities and notified Minister Humphreys on 9 October. As the Deputy will be aware, the issues arising were discussed at the most recent meeting of the Policing Authority and the Garda Commissioner in public on 28 October.
I share the authority's concern about the continuation of what appears to be the inappropriate cancellation and classification of calls since the introduction of the new procedures. These circumstances will of course be considered by the Policing Authority as part of its continuing oversight of the Garda review of this matter and will be taken into account in the work being carried out by an external policing expert who has been appointed to assist the Policing Authority in this task. I await the outcome of the Authority's work in this regard. Question No. 740 answered with Question No. 733.