Garda oversight body seeks to fill public positions

Applications are being sought from members of the public to join the Policing Authority as preparations for the new body continue.

Eight ‘ordinary members’ of the authority are to be appointed to part-time positions that will earn them €15,000 a year.

The appointments are for three/four years, with possible extensions up to eight years, and the time commitment is estimated to be four/six days per month with meetings to be held in Dublin.

Successful applicants will work under Josephine Feelihy, former chair of the Revenue Commissioners, who was appointed in a designate capacity almost a year ago.

Their job description is to “oversee the performance of An Garda Síochána in relation to policing in such a way as to enhance public accountability and to drive and support effective performance, continuous improvement and ongoing reform”.

The authority was announced following a series of damning revelations regarding penalty point abuses and failings within criminal investigations.

Appointed members will hold quarterly meetings in public with the Garda Commissioner where they will be able to raise current issues and will also be able to draw on the work of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, which handles complaints against gardaí, and the Garda Inspectorate, which has powers to audit and probe case-handling.

They will also be responsible for drawing up a Garda ethics code, for nominating candidates for the post of Garda commissioner and deputy commissioner, and for appointments to the ranks of superintendent, chief superintendent and assistant commissioner.

Applicants will be assessed by the Public Appointments Service and can not be a TD, senator, councillor, MEP, garda or civilian employed by the Garda. Public servants who successfully apply will not receive the advertised pay because of the ‘one person, one salary’ rule in the public service.

Prospective candidates should have a background in at least one of the following: policing in a police force other than the Garda, human rights, senior management or board membership in a “complex organisation”, senior roles with voluntary and community organisations, financial management, the law, communications, human resources or information and communications technology.

The Policing Authority is already several months behind target in becoming operational.

It was intended to be up and running by next month but the legislation underpinning it was not enacted before the Dáil’s summer recess and will now have to take its place in the list when business resumes at the end of September.

The Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill has been passed by the Seanad however and a Department of Justice spokesman said it was expected it would be progressed swiftly.

“We would hope it would have a good discussion but a quick passage through the Dáil,” he said, adding it was expected the bill would be passed, the positions would be filled and the authority formally established before the end of the year.


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