62. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of senior Garda appointments made by the Policing Authority at each rank in the past six months; if he has satisfied himself that proper due diligence is being adhered to with regard to the way in which the promotions are being conducted; if he has had contact with the Policing Authority with regard to specific officers that have been promoted in the past six months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5673/18]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the Policing Authority assumed the function of selecting and appointing persons to the rank of Assistant Garda Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent in An Garda Síochána on 1 January 2017. I wish to make it clear that, with the exception of members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) whose appointment by the Authority must be approved by the Government, I, as Minister, have no role in the selection and appointment of candidates to these ranks and that I have had no contact with the Authority nor would it be appropriate for me to have contact with the Authority in this regard.
Since assuming responsibility for this function, the Authority has run competitions for promotion to the ranks of Assistant Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent. Following these competitions appointments have been made to each of the ranks.
In relation to the specific information requested by the Deputy I am advised that the Authority appointed 23 persons to the rank of Superintendent including a former member of the PSNI, 11 persons to the rank of Chief Superintendent and 2 persons to the rank of Assistant Commissioner in the last 6 months of 2017 and to date in 2018.
These competitions were conducted in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (Appointments to the ranks of Assistant Garda Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent) Regulations 2016 and the Authority’s Statement of Practice. In accordance with the Regulations the Authority has put in place a clearance process to establish the health and character of the candidates. This involves seeking information from the candidates, from their current employer and the relevant complaints Ombudsman in relation to any matters including disciplinary findings, criminal convictions or on-going complaints which the Authority takes into consideration in this regard.  An appointment is only made by the Authority when it is satisfied with the outcome of this clearance process.
The Statement of Practice for these competitions sets out the practices which the Authority commits to in order to ensure the consistent application of best practice standards in regard to its process for selection and appointments, including for the clearance of candidates in advance of appointment. This Statement of Practice is published on the Authority’s website.
I commend the Authority on their achievement in completing these competitions in a timely and efficient manner so as to facilitate the making of appointments to fill vacancies as they arise without any undue delay.