Written answers

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

Domestic Violence

Photo of Violet WynneViolet Wynne (Clare, Sinn Fein)
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489. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the steps that have been taken to avoid the service failure that occurred earlier in 2021 to prevent further domestic violence incident calls from being unanswered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [62654/21]

Photo of Violet WynneViolet Wynne (Clare, Sinn Fein)
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490. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if the recommendations presented in the recent Policing Authority report will be implemented and changes made accordingly in the systems and training of An Garda Síochána in its response to domestic violence incidents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [62675/21]

Photo of Helen McEnteeHelen McEntee (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 489 and 490 together.

Any inappropriate cancellation of 999 incidents on the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system is a very serious issue which falls significantly below the high standards that the public expect from the Gardaí and the high standards that An Garda Síochána set for themselves. I welcome the apology that has been made in this regard by the Garda Commissioner

It is vital that the best interests of victims and anyone whose incidents were cancelled inappropriately are the priority and focus throughout this process. It is concerning that anyone who summoned the courage to seek assistance may not have received it, so it is important to note that the Gardaí have contacted those affected to apologise and ask if they require help from An Garda Síochána. The Commissioner has assured me that when someone calls 999 now, they can expect and trust that An Garda Síochána will help.

In February, I requested the Policing Authority to oversee the ongoing work by AGS to review how 999 calls are handled. This examination is continuing. As part of this process, the Authority decided to appoint an independent policing expert, Mr Derek Penman, to conduct a preliminary examination of the adequacy of the review being undertaken by An Garda Síochána.

Mr Penman has submitted an interim report which the Authority has discussed with the Commissioner, including at its most recent public meeting. The Commissioner has accepted the interim report's findings, and stated that many are already in the process of being implemented within An Garda Síochána.

The work of the Authority in this regard is continuing and I welcome the Commissioner’s continuing engagement with the Authority at both their public and private meetings. I will of course carefully consider any conclusions or recommendations which the Authority arrives at in due course.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible by law for the management and administration of Garda business. As Minister, I have no role in operational matters concerning the training or systems referred to by the Deputy.

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