Policing Authority says Disclosures Tribunal report will drive reforms

Mr Justice Charleton

By Cormac O’Keeffe and Elaine Loughlin

The Policing Authority has said the findings of the Disclosures Tribunal report will drive its work in overseeing the Garda obligations to the community and to ethical behaviour.

The authority said the report gave “important impetus” to its work in overseeing the Garda Síochána’s performance in areas such as “visible policing, obligations to the community, culture [and] ethics”.

It said that examples of excellent police work, and the commitment of thousands of gardaí, as noted by the judge, was also its experience.

It said it was pressing the Garda leadership to make the code of ethics “central to all aspects” of police work.

The authority said it pushed the importance of “proper management, supervision and performance management”. It said it would consider the judge’s comments in relation to the selection of senior officers “very carefully”.

The authority welcomed Commissioner Drew Harris’ statement on the obligations of gardaí to the truth and society. It said it would discuss the report with him at its meeting on October 24.

Neither the Garda Representative Association and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors made any comment on the report yesterday, with the GRA saying it needed to consider it further.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Simon Harris demanded that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin leader Mary-Lou McDonald apologise to former tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald for “hounding a good woman out of office”.

Mr Justice Charleton found that Ms Fitzgerald acted appropriately at all times. He accepted her evidence regarding her knowledge of, and responses to, an alleged Garda strategy to undermine Sgt Maurice McCabe.

The judge said she had “selflessly resigned” as the minister for business in “the national interest”.

Mr Harris said: “I think Frances Fitzgerald was vindicated, I think it’s really disappointing that the opposition has yet to apologise for the charges that they made against her which have now been found to be false.

“They hounded a woman out of office for political expediency and their statements in the last 24 hours have been mean-spirited. She was not afforded due process, Judge Charleton was very clear on that.”

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