Cabinet to approve head of Garda review

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald

The Cabinet is to approve the chair of a new root-and- branch review of the Garda today.

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald announced the wide-ranging probe into the Garda in the wake of a series of scandals in recent months.

She is due to update her Cabinet colleagues on the review this morning and will propose a person to fill the role of chairperson for approval.

It is then expected that Ms Fitzgerald will consult the chairperson on the final terms of reference before bringing them to the Cabinet next week. 

The possibility of a historic split of Ireland’s security and policing systems is one potential move that the review could recommend.

Other areas the root-and- branch review will examine include the culture and ethos of the force, structures and management arrangements, oversight and accountability as well as best practices in other countries.

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan said the Patten-type review will hopefully provide an opportunity to consider the future of the Garda Síochána outside the context of any specific controversy.

“It’s objective must be to set forward a path for the improvement and operation of policing in Ireland in the 21st century,” he said. 

“It is also essential, irrespective of this review, that full implementation of the reports of the Garda Inspectorate takes place. Government must ensure that these valuable reports are not ignored and that they are fully implemented.”

It comes as Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has sought to allay concerns of her top statistician regarding a crime analysis in a bid to address the latest controversy to engulf her.

It emerged at the weekend that Gurchand Singh, head of the Garda Analysis Service, wrote to her, and other senior officers, expressing concerns he had not seen a report on homicide figures before it was given to the Policing Authority on April 27.

Mr Singh is understood to have expressed his unhappiness that the view was given to the authority that the report was a “united and joint” review of homicide data compiled by both Garda and civilian analysts.

The Irish Examiner understands that, following receipt of his letter, Ms O’Sullivan gave Mr Singh the report. He is now reviewing the report and it is thought he will inform the commissioner whether or not he concurs with its findings or if any alterations are necessary.

It is thought that the commissioner’s office, in turn, will notify the authority of any amendments to the report and Mr Singh’s response. It comes as the Policing Authority yesterday wrote to the commissioner on the issue.

It comes as the Policing Authority yesterday wrote to the commissioner on the issue.

In response to a list of questions from the Irish Examiner, the authority said: “The chairperson confirmed yesterday that she had noted the story in yesterday’s Sunday Times regarding the classification of homicide figures and that the authority would be following up on the matter with the Garda Commissioner today. 

"This follow-up is in progress and the authority has no further comment to make at this time.”

Mr Singh sent a letter to a number of senior managers at Garda HQ in the days after a public meeting with the authority, which he attended. 

Policing Authority chairperson Josephine Feehily asked questions about a review on homicide figures between 2013-2015 that had been conducted– and was told that the document was the result of a “united and joint” review carried out by civilian analysts and senior gardaí.

Mr Singh told Ms Feehily he did not see the final report.


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