Thursday, 23 June 2005
Garda Síochána Bill 2004 [Seanad]: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage.
Jim O'Keeffe (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
I am glad there is unanimity among all Opposition parties on the issue of protecting and promoting human rights. I invite the Minister to join that club. I am surprised that an issue such as the protection of human rights is not deemed sufficiently important to be a key function of the Garda Síochána. This matter was raised by the Human Rights Commission but I am not sure of the Minister's views on those who have a strong interest in human rights. I recollect a vague, slighting reference he made to some of them as being part of the human rights industry. If that is his personal view, it should not be reflected in legislation.
In modern times there is greater recognition of the importance of human rights. From that point of view it would be useful and progressive to include among the functions in section 7 that the Garda respect the human rights of each individual. It is not the end of the world if it is not included but I hope it will be. It could then possibly be a part of the training course or the re-training of gardaí. It is an effort to put the issue in lights, as it were. In the context of the new culture that we hope will develop in the Garda Síochána it would be useful to have it in this section.