473. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if stress interventions and-or counselling sessions are mandatory following traumatic incidents involving gardaí at work, further to Question No. 295 of 16 October 2018, and his response regarding the analysing of the report and consultations with An Garda Síochána. [1382/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I know the Deputy will agree that we should never underestimate the dangers the men and women of An Garda Síochána face and the traumatic incidents they encounter in the course of their duty. The Government is committed to supporting the work of An Garda Síochána and to ensuring that the organisation is properly resourced to carry out its important role in protecting our communities.
As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for An Garda Síochána including the provision of employee welfare supports. As outlined in my response to the Parliamentary Question referred to by the Deputy, I am informed by the Commissioner that following a traumatic incident at work, the interventions and counselling provided are not mandatory for members of An Garda Síochána, however, the supports and services outlined in my previous response remain as stated.
The recently published Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland report recognises that policing is an unusually stressful job and recommends that An Garda Síochána requires mandatory counselling for Gardaí following a traumatic incident.
On 18 December 2018 the Government endorsed the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI) and agreed to accept all 157 key recommendations contained therein, including mandatory counselling and a Wellness programme.
On 18 December I also published a four year high-level implementation plan, “A Policing Service for the Future”, which will be overseen by a dedicated Programme Office in the Department of the Taoiseach as recommended in the Commission’s report. As outlined in the implementation plan, work on the development of a Wellness programme in An Garda Síochána will commence in Q2 2019.