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Question

35. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which the Policing Authority has taken over its full responsibilities relating to An Garda Síochána; if the authority's attention was drawn to recent disclosures regarding the failed prosecution in respect of particular motoring offences and the wrongful prosecution in others; if a particular division and command structure within the force has had responsibility for such matters up to now; when the personnel with such responsibilities had their attention drawn to these issues; if a structure has been put in place to deal with any such issues in the future; if An Garda Síochána remains a united force fully focused on its functions and responsibilities including the working of each sector individually and collectively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15689/17]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy is aware, the statutory basis for the Policing Authority is the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 which amended the Garda Síochána Act 2005.
The Authority’s role is to oversee the performance of the Garda Síochána in relation to policing services, to promote public awareness of policing matters and to promote and support the continuous improvements in policing in Ireland. Its mission is to drive excellent policing through valued and effective oversight and governance.
Earlier this year, the Authority assumed its full range of statutory functions when regulations governing the appointment and removal of members of An Garda Síochána were approved.
The Deputy refers to the issue of the failed prosecution in respect of particular motoring offences and the absence of fixed charge notices. I have no direct role in the enforcement of Road Traffic legislation, which is an operational matter for the Garda Commissioner. However, I have outlined my serious concerns with the Garda Commissioner and the Chairperson of the Policing Authority, with regard to the fixed charge notice issue. I have made it clear to the Commissioner that this error has to be fully addressed and a new system identified to avoid a reoccurrence.
The Chairperson of the Policing Authority, Josephine Feehily, has confirmed to me that the Authority will continue to examine this matter, as part of its oversight role.