1. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the proposed independent review of An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15901/17]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Deputy will be aware that the Government had agreed to engage the services of an independent international expert with a background in policing to carry out a review into issues of culture and ethos in An Garda Síochána, and considerable work had been done to progress the review. The three oversight bodies, the Policing Authority, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and the Garda Inspectorate, had been consulted and my Department was in the process of preparing a proposal for consideration by the Government setting out the work to be done by the expert.
However, as the Deputy will be aware, the Government decided yesterday that a more fundamental review of An Garda Síochána - really, a fundamental review of policing in Ireland - may now be required. I will bring initial proposals to Government next week. In this regard, we will have to consider whether the review of the culture and ethos of An Garda Síochána should be undertaken as a discrete piece of work, as originally intended or whether it should be part of any wider review. My view is that it should be part of the wider review. The culture and ethos of An Garda Síochána are very much part and parcel of the whole and should be dealt with as such. The Garda Inspectorate's report, Changing Policing in Ireland, devotes a chapter to the culture of An Garda Síochána. As a result of the report, the Commissioner was in the process of arranging for the conduct of a cultural audit which was being overseen by the Policing Authority. The Deputy will be familiar with this. This work must all be done together now.
I have seen the Deputy's motion regarding an independent review of certain aspects of Garda recruitment and training and I would like to discuss these ideas with him further. It would be better to have an agreed approach to the issue across the House. I would like to see the greatest consensus possible because it is in all our interests and in the interest of the future of An Garda Síochána that we make very sure the terms of reference capture everything that needs to be done at this point and take account of the very important work of the Policing Authority and the bodies already in place. The review should build on their work, and I will consult them closely. As I said, the next discussion on the matter will be in Cabinet, but I hope to consult colleagues across the House next week and the following week.