Garda legislative reform
The Government programme of justice reform will substantially strengthen the accountability of the Garda Síochána.
The central objectives of the reform programme are to ensure that public confidence in the Garda Síochána is maintained and that the organisation is fit for purpose for the 21st century. The programme’s progress is overseen by the Cabinet Committee on Justice Reform, which is chaired by the Taoiseach. Read more here. A cornerstone of the Government’s reform programme involves legislative reform.
Legislation to establish an independent Policing Authority
On 18 May 2015, the Minister published the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015 which provides for the establishment of the new independent Policing Authority to provide independent and objective oversight of the policing functions of the Garda Síochána. Read more in this Press Release.
The Bill has due regard to the public consultation process undertaken in May 2014 and the consultation seminar hosted by the Minister in Farmleigh on 20 June 2014. Read more in this press release as well as the recommendations contained in the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on its review of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. The preparation of the Bill also involved an examination of the policing oversight arrangements in operation in other jurisdictions.
Ms. Josephine Feehily has been nominated as the first Chairperson-designate for the Policing Authority. Read more.
More information on the establishment of the Authority is available at the Policing Authority website.
Garda Síochána (Amendment) Act 2015
The GSOC is the independent body responsible for receiving and dealing with complaints made by members of the public concerning the conduct of members of the Garda Síochána.
Amendments are also being made to further legislation in respect of the exercise of certain police powers by GSOC
In essence, the Act provides for:
- the inclusion, for the first time, of the Garda Commissioner within the investigative remit of GSOC
- the conferral of additional police powers on GSOC for criminal investigation purposes
- the provision of information by the Garda Commissioner to GSOC for investigative purposes as soon as practicable
- greater autonomy for GSOC in examining Garda practices, policies and procedures
- the extension of ministerial powers to refer matters to GSOC for investigation in the public interest
- the ability of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate to carry out inspections on its own initiative without the need for the prior approval of the Minister for Justice and Equality.
Report of the Policing Authority in accordance with section 62O of the Garda Síochána Act 2005
The Policing Authority was established on 1 January 2016 under the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 to oversee the performance by the Garda Síochána of its functions relating to policing services. Section 62O (2) of the Act requires that the Authority report to the Minister on—
- the effectiveness of the Authority, and
- the adequacy of the functions assigned to it by the Act.
The section also states "the report …may contain recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the Authority” and requires the Minister to lay the report before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as practicable after it has been received. The report was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 19 January 2018.
The Garda Síochána (Reserve Members) Regulations 2006 are currently under review.
The Garda Síochána Discipline Regulations 2007 are currently under review.
Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015