Clarity need on Department of Justice reform proposals
Labour spokesperson on Justice, Sean Sherlock TD has said that media reports regarding proposals to split the Department of Justice into clear Justice and Home Affairs portfolios as recommended by the Toland Report should already be implemented but that if new Ministries were to be established we will need further clarity from the two parties on what they intend to propose.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“In response to efforts to broker a solution between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael over the current controversy it has been reported that the Department of Justice and Equality will be split internally into clear Justice and Home Affairs portfolios.
“Let us be clear that this was a central recommendation of the Report of the Independent Review Group on the Department of Justice and Equality, otherwise known as the Toland Report, published in July 2014.
“On page 13 of the Toland report, under Leadership and Structure it recommends a fundamental organisational review and redesign. Point ‘b’ called for the restructuring of the Department into clear Justice and Home Affairs portfolios. Justice would include civil and criminal law reform, crime and security and international policy. Home Affairs would include policing, prisons, courts, equality and integration.
“The report recommended that a Deputy Secretary General be appointed to lead and take responsibility for the Home Affairs portfolio. The report recommended that these structural changes occur within three months.
“It is unclear if the proposal now is to implement this long delayed recommendation or establish an entirely new Ministry. Similar changes to this occurred in the UK in 2007 when functions of the Home Office were combined with the Department of Constitutional Affairs to form a new Ministry of Justice alongside the Home Office.
“If a new Ministry for Home Affairs is to be set up both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael should be clear that they will be proposing that, and how it will be structured, resourced and implemented.”