Thursday, 23 June 2005
Garda Síochána Bill 2004 [Seanad]: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage.
Michael McDowell (Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
I am tired of being told that everything we do must reflect everything that happens in Northern Ireland and that we should not diverge, in any way, from that model. It is a case of "Four legs good, two legs bad". If it is north of the Border, it must be perfect, and everything that we do down here is second-rate in comparison. In section 18 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998, the general functions of the police force were stated to be to protect life and property, to preserve order, to prevent the commission of offences and, where an offence has been committed, to take measures to bring the offender to justice. Those are the functions of the Police Service of Northern Ireland as stated as recently as 1998 in its founding statute. I mention that solely to remind the House that what we are doing here is talking about the function of the Garda Síochána in the State. It is to provide policing and security services for the State, and its objectives are to preserve peace and public order, to protect life and property, to protect the security of the State, to prevent crime, to bring criminals to justice, including by detecting and investigating crime, and to regulate and control road traffic and improve road safety.