A good day for accountability as Garda Authority becomes operational
Accountability in policing in Ireland has taken a massive step forward today as the Garda Authority is formally established.
An Garda Siochana has served this country extremely well since the foundation of the state, but as the demands on the force become more complex it has become even more important that the force operates within a culture of transparency and accountability.
The Policing Authority will ensure an independent and transparent process of oversight and governance of policing in Ireland.
It is fair to say that this is the most far-reaching reform of policing in Ireland since the establishment of the ‘Peelers’ in the early 1800s. The new Garda Authority is a major element of the comprehensive programme of justice reform which is being delivered by the Government.
Functions of the Authority include providing oversight and accountability of the provision of policing services in the State, being involved in key Garda appointments, preparing and approving a three year National Policing Plan, approving an annual Policing Implementation Plan submitted by the Garda Commissioner and establishing a Garda code of ethics.
Garda reform on this scale was not on the government agenda at the start of this year. In fact I was the first TD in this Dail to propose a Garda Authority in the format that was subsequently adopted. In response to the various problems that have arisen in recent times, the Labour Party has ensured that this important oversight body be established with a high level of political independence in order to restore confidence and improve transparency within An Garda Siochana.
The establishment of an independent Garda authority has been official Labour Party policy for more than fifteen years, and, thanks to our participation in Government, we have been able to deliver on this key commitment.