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Question

81. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice her views on and response to criticism by Garda superintendents of the proposed policing Bill; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51417/21]

Answer

Deputy Heather Humphreys: I thank Deputy Calleary for raising this matter. It is important to acknowledge that significant and necessary reforms have taken place in An Garda Síochána over the past few years, and Garda superintendents have played their part in these reforms. I am conscious that the publication earlier this year of the general scheme of the policing, security and community safety Bill represents a major milestone in the ongoing process of reform, and is particularly vital in providing a legislative framework for the implementation of many of the recommendations from the commission on the future of policing in Ireland. The Deputy will no doubt recall that the commission undertook significant consultation with gardaí of all ranks and with Garda staff in finalising its report in 2018.
I attended the Garda superintendents' annual association conference last week and listened carefully to their concerns. Significant organisational reform, including institutional change, culture and work practices, is always challenging, but the Government's aim is to provide a new coherent governance and oversight framework that will strengthen external oversight of An Garda Síochána and internal governance within the organisation as recommended by the commission. Central to this vision is a professional, ethical, modern and effective service that is efficiently managed, properly trained and equipped and is clearly accountable.
The Bill provides for a new policing and community safety authority which will be entirely focused on providing robust independent oversight. It will combine the functions of the Policing Authority and the Garda Síochána Inspectorate, building on their excellent work, while reducing the number of oversight bodies. The Bill will also greatly strengthen the independent oversight of the handling and investigation of allegations of wrongdoing by Garda personnel, through expanding the remit of the independent ombudsman and by overhauling its investigation procedures to support the timely, transparent and effective resolution of complaints and investigations while safeguarding due process for all concerned.