26 March 2017

“As the Minister for Justice has said, the revelations about Garda breathalysing statistics and the wrongful summoning and conviction of 14,700 people are ‘appalling’ and ‘staggering’.

“Those words should mean something, and have consequences.

“The statement yesterday from the Garda Commissioner told us what she is doing now, but failed to adequately explain why it happened. She accepted that this was more than a systems failure. She said that this is about ethics, it’s about supervision, most of all it’s about trust.

“The buck stops with the Commissioner. There must be an acceptance of responsibility, and a consequent action of accountability.

“The administration of justice and the application of the rule of law goes to the heart of our democracy and the trust the people place in our police force. Our police and our people must also have confidence in those who run the force.

“This is not the first time that Garda statistics have been shown to be wrong or misleading. The CSO in September 2016 called into question the reliability of crime data. The Garda Commissioner has also said ‘it is inevitable that we will identify more examples of bad practice.’

“It is clear that Garda management is not fit for purpose and that root and branch change is now needed within An Garda Siochána. Policing is at the core of a democratic society and the maintenance of the rule of law. We cannot function for long without full confidence in our policing system.

“We have now reached the point when clear and transparent changes need to be made in the management of An Garda Síochána. This must involve more than any one individual being replaced.

“The lack of understanding from Government of the seriousness of these matters beggars belief.”


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