Tuesday, 8 April 2003
Garda Síochána (Police Co-Operation) Bill 2003: Second Stage.
Sheila Terry (Fine Gael)
I welcome the Minister. I also welcome the Bill which must be welcomed by everybody. It implements the policing principles contained in the Good Friday Agreement and will bring about greater co-operation between the two police forces, North and South. No doubt, it will be a great tool in combating crime, whether terrorism, drugs related crime or trafficking.
I join the Minister in complimenting the Garda Síochána on the work it has done to date, particularly the work done abroad. We have been proud of our Garda force and the work it has undertaken with the United Nations in various countries.
There are a couple of issues I wish to raise, to which I would like the Minister to respond. In order for this legislation to work to its fullest a Garda ombudsman should be put in place in the South. He or she should have powers similar to those of the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland. I would like the Minister's comment on this matter. It makes sense that we should have a Garda ombudsman, for which we have called for on many occasions. If both sides are to be equal, we need to work on this issue.