Dáil debates

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

2:30 pm

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)
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Question 134: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the membership and terms of reference of the recently established civilian expert group to advise the Garda; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30630/06]

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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In July of this year, I received Government approval for a number of proposals to strengthen and support the senior management structure of An Garda Síochána. Among the measures approved by the Government was the establishment of a four-person advisory group chaired by Senator Maurice Hayes. The other members of the group are Ms Emer Daly, former director of strategic planning and risk management with Axa Insurance; Dr. Michael Mulraney, assistant director general of the Institute of Public Administration; and Mr. Maurice Keane, former group chief executive of the Bank of Ireland.

I envisage that the advisory group will have a lifespan of approximately 12 months. Its primary objective will be to advise and support the Garda Commissioner and his senior management team in addressing the leadership and management challenges currently facing An Garda Síochána, particularly in the context of responding to the deficiencies in those areas identified by the Morris tribunal. In particular, the group will advise the Garda Commissioner and his senior management team on the development of strong management and leadership skills at all management grades in the Garda Síochána; the promotion within the Garda Síochána of a culture of performance management and accountability within the framework of the Garda Síochána Act 2005; the continued development of human resource management, including the development of succession planning at senior levels to ensure continuity of management and oversight; the development of specialist skills throughout the Garda Síochána through enhanced training of gardaí; and accelerated direct recruitment of civilians with such expertise and the enhancement of the provision of training for members and staff of the force.

This group, which has a unique set of skills and insights, will be a key support for the Garda Commissioner and his management team in implementing the comprehensive reform agenda now underway in An Garda Síochána. Its members will bring strong management and leadership experience and expertise to this task. Their work will complement the activities of the Garda inspectorate, the main focus of which will be on benchmarking, by reference to international experience, generic Garda operational procedures and practices.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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One of the Garda management advisory group's terms of reference is to promote a culture of accountability. How does the Minister envisage this might be done? What is his reaction to the reaction of the Garda representative bodies to the publication of the most recent Morris tribunal reports and the commencement of training of the first members of the Garda reserve?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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I strongly deprecate and reject the reported remarks attributed to the secretary general of the Garda Representative Association concerning the way in which members of the reserve will be regarded. I have asked the Commissioner for a full report in respect of those remarks so that appropriate action can be taken.

Regarding the reaction to the Morris tribunal reports, the House will have an opportunity in the coming weeks to consider the three reports that have not yet been considered, the Barr tribunal report and the report of the Nally group into the Garda Sergeant White affair in respect of Omagh. The House will also have an opportunity to consider the recent report into the Dean Lyons issue prepared by George Birmingham, SC.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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When will they be before the House?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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All of these matters will be before the House or, if it chooses, a committee of the House because they require our urgent attention as legislators.