Howlin says latest Justice proposals farcical

28 December 2017

Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin has described the Government’s response to the crisis in the Department of Justice as farcical and not a real separation, and that the latest remarks from the Taoiseach and Minister are simply a reheating of Toland recommendations that should have been implemented years ago.

Deputy Howlin said:

“A Department is not split if it still comes under one Minister and one Secretary General. This latest spin exercise from the Government on justice reform amounts to little more than smoke and mirrors.

“What the Taoiseach and Minister for Justice is now promoting as a new reform with the restructuring of the Department into clear Justice and Home Affairs portfolios was a central recommendation of the Toland Report in July 2014.

“The crisis in Justice has moved on significantly since, and this rehashed proposal does not address the issue of political leadership and will do little to change the culture in the overall Department.

“To retain one Minister and one Secretary General makes a nonsense of their being separate departments. This a ball of smoke – existing divisions already exist within the Justice Department. Nor is this even the model adopted by Paschal Donohoe in Public Expenditure and Reform, and Finance.

“What has been missing in the Justice portfolio is political leadership – retaining a single political head to two departments misses the point.

“If the Government believes that a separate department is necessary it should have separate political and administrative leadership. Anything else is nonsense.

“Major Departments of State require full time Ministers and Secretaries General.

“This isn’t real reform, it is tinkering around the edges.”

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