Greens welcome McDowell 'U-turn' on Prison Inspectorate

The Green Party today welcomed Minister for Justice Michael McDowell's apparent U-turn on the issue of setting up an independent Prisons Inspectorate.

According to reports in the Irish Examiner today, the Department of Justice has confirmed that the Minister will now allow the office to be established through amendment to primary legislation.

"I am pleased that the minister has finally seen sense on this issue," said Green Party justice spokesperson Ciarán Cuffe today.

"I do however feel that the minister should apologise to Justice Kinlen for remarks he made last weekend suggesting that 'private agendas' are driving him in his work. It is entirely inappropriate for a minister for justice to raise the private issue of Justice Kinlen's pension entitlements in the public domain in this way.

"Transparency and independent scrutiny are key to instilling public confidence in areas like the prisons system and An Garda Síochána.

"I would call on the minister to take a similar approach to the Garda Ombudsman Commission, and ensure that that office operates with full independence from Government."

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