External Garda Commissioner is an opportunity to inject new thinking into Gardaí

26 June 2018

Commenting on the appointment of Mr Drew Harris as Garda Commissioner, Labour Leader Brendan Howlin said:

“The recruitment of an external person into the role of Garda Commissioner is an opportunity to inject new thinking into An Garda Síochána and to drive organisational change, and I wish Mr Harris well in taking on this role.

“Mr Harris will have a series of important tasks ahead of him, but none more important than driving real reform within the ranks of the Gardaí in order to change the culture of policing in Ireland.

“Public confidence in the Gardaí has been shaken by the recent scandal over breath-testing and penalty points, as well as a history of Tribunals relating to Garda matters. There is a pressing need to improve relations between the force and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.

“There is also a need for serious improvements in the Garda Pulse system that gathers data on crime, for example in relation to sexual crimes. If we do not have robust procedures to give us reliable statistics on crime, then it is impossible to know whether or not improvements are occurring.

“And I would hope that, at an early stage, Mr Harris will take steps to implement the series of Garda Inspectorate reports that have not led to action.

“The fact that Mr Harris is from Northern Ireland and has an RUC family background should be unremarkable, but it is still a first. It is a further welcome sign of the normalisation of relations on this island since the Good Friday Agreement 20 years ago.”

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