The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Michael McDowell T.D., has signed an Order, as provided for in the Garda Síochána Act 2005, transferring all civilian staff in An Garda Síochána from his Department to the Garda Commissioner.
Up to now, civilian support staff working with An Garda Síochána had been employees of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform - they are now staff of the Garda Commissioner.
Speaking on signing the Order, the Tánaiste remarked, "This is an historic day for An Garda Síochána and for the 1,900 staff affected by the making of this Order. It marks another significant step in the full implementation of theGarda Síochána Act 2005, making the Commissioner, for the first time, the effective employer of all the staff - Gardaí and Civilians - who work for him. Under the Garda Act he can now employ his own staff, in his own right and is no longer dependent on my Department to provide him with civilian staff".
This reform, which follows the transfer of the Accounting Officer function to the Commissioner in July, means that he now has responsibility for all aspects of financial and human resources management in An Garda Síochána.
Referring to the consultations that took place with the Trade Unions representing Civilians in An Garda Síochána the Tánaiste said, "I would like to thank the Trade Unions for their constructive approach to the transfer of their members to the Garda Commissioner. I believe that the structures that have now been put in place will allow civilians to play a full part in the future of An Garda Síochána.
I would also like to pay tribute to the civilian staff who have long delivered a vital - and sometimes underappreciated - support service to An Garda Síochána as it carries out its work. Their value to the Force - and the potential for the ongoing Civilianisation Programme to deliver even greater benefits in the future - cannot be overstated".
To support the Garda Commissioner in carrying out this new responsibility, a new Civilian Human Resources Division has been established which, when fully operational, will have a staffing complement of 37 civilian staff. This Division will carry out all aspects of human resource management and development (including recruitment, training, discipline, industrial relations and general HR administrative functions) for the 1,900 clerical, administrative, professional, technical and industrial civilian staff now working with An Garda Síochána and will also play a key strategic role in driving forward the wider Civilianisation Programme.
In a related development, the Garda Síochána Inspectorate and the Management Advisory Group (chaired by Senator Hayes, appointed to advise the Garda Commissioner on issues of management and leadership development in the Force) are both examining the future role and optimum use of civilian support, administration and management staff in An Garda Síochána. It is expected that these reports will be finalised and published in the coming weeks.
18 October 2006