Garda legislation welcomed

Opposition parties have welcomed new Garda legislation, but insisted its provisions needed to be stronger.

Sinn Féin justice spokesman Padraig Mac Lochlainn said the Garda Síochána Bill was overdue, but was especially needed in the wake of a spate of justice scandals.

Introducing the bill to the Dáil, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the main thrust of the legislation was to strengthen the role of Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

The legislation seeks to extend GSOC’s investigative powers by giving it greater autonomy and widening its remit.

The justice minister admitted there had been “serious failures on penalty points” regarding the treatment of whistle blowers.

The minister said she would bring in a new police authority as soon as practicable, and is expected to be announced by the new year.

Mr Mac Lochlainn said more needed to be done to assure the public on law and order.

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