Ireland’s independent Policing Authority officially established

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Ireland’s new independent Policing Authority has been officially established as of the start of the year, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has announced.

The new body, championed as a key element of the Government’s programme of justice reform, will provide oversight of An Garda Síochána as well as making nominations and appointments for key policing roles.

Its capabilities include the power to request that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission or the Garda Síochána Inspectorate initiates an inspection, inquiry, or examination of Garda practices and procedures, although it cannot directly order one.

The authority will also hold regular meetings with the Garda Commissioner, including at least four every year which will be open to the public and the media.

Its other functions include approving Garda strategy statements and annual policing plans, and setting priorities and performance targets.

The nine members appointed to the body include barrister Moling Ryan, the former chief executive of the Legal Aid Board, and law lecturer Vicky Conway.

The others are chairperson Josephine Feehily, Noel Brett, Bob Collins, Patrick Costello, Judith Gillespie, Valerie Judge, and Maureen Lynott.

Ms Fitzgerald said: “The establishment of an independent Policing Authority represents a key element of the Government’s comprehensive programme of justice reform and delivers a sea-change in the oversight of policing in the State which I committed to when I assumed office. The Authority is now in place and ready to begin its very important work.

“The Authority will provide a new, effective and independent forum for the public oversight of policing services in Ireland.”

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