Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
386. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if he has consulted with the Garda Commissioner and the Chief Constable of the PSNI in respect of allowing officers of all ranks to transfer between the forces; and the details of the transfer system that exists. [3183/20]
Recruitment to An Garda Síochána is governed by the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 2013. There are a number of routes under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 through which individuals with policing experience and qualifications gained in another jurisdiction may join the organisation.
Competitions for the positions of Garda Commissioner and Deputy Garda Commissioner are not restricted to serving members and, as the Deputy will be aware, the most recent competitions for these posts were open to all individuals with relevant experience and qualifications.
Competitions for appointment to the ranks of Assistant Garda Commissioner, chief superintendent and superintendent are open to members of the PSNI once they meet the eligibility criteria set out in the relevant Regulations under the Garda Síochána Act 2005. The Policing Authority assumed responsibility for undertaking these competitions on 1 January 2017 and, coinciding with that date, the eligibility criteria were extended to include any member of the PSNI not below the rank of inspector who has served not less than 2 years in that rank.
The Deputy may also wish to note that arrangements are in place to allow for the secondment of officers from the PSNI to certain ranks in An Garda Síochána for a period not exceeding 3 years. The Inter-Governmental Agreement on Police Co-operation obliged both Governments to introduce the necessary administrative and legislative measures to provide for exchanges, secondments and appointments between the Garda Síochána and the PSNI. Sections 52 - 54 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 gives effect to these obligations. Protocols are in place between the Garda Commissioner and the Chief Constable of the PSNI which provide for the implementation of a programme of personnel exchanges and secondments between the two police services.
Perhaps most importantly in this context, as the Deputy will be aware, in December 2018 the Government endorsed the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland and the report is now being implemented in accordance with the targets and timelines set out in the 4-year plan "A Policing Service for the Future".
Among the issues highlighted in the report was that An Garda Síochána should reflect the diversity of Irish society and should therefore develop recruitment strategies to achieve a more diverse intake. These recommendations echoed those of the Garda Inspectorate following their examination of entry routes into An Garda Síochána, published in July 2018. That review recommended the extension of reciprocal arrangements to allow access to the sergeant and inspector promotion processes in both jurisdictions (An Garda Síochána and PSNI).
As part of the implementation plan a broad review of entry to An Garda Síochána will be carried out, which I expect will consider this and other issues.