Speaking in the Dáil today, co-leader of the Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall TD, told the Taoiseach that “we cannot wait for the results of yet another review while the force continues to flounder.”
In response to the Taoiseach’s claim that the new Commission on the Future of Policing would address the cultural issues in the Gardaí, Deputy Shortall said:
“There is a real danger that this is yet another attempt at providing political cover for Minister Fitzgerald, and will allow the government to kick the can down the road again. We need to tackle the problems in the Garda now, not in 15 months’ time. While I have the utmost respect for the individuals appointed to this Commission, I don’t think it is possible to restore confidence in the force while the current Commissioner and senior management team are still in place.”
Deputy Shortall continued: “The simple fact is public confidence in the Garda is at an all-time low and morale among officers is dented. In the past few weeks alone, we’ve seen the severe financial mismanagement in Templemore; the alleged telephone bugging of the political opponent of a minister; and the widespread distribution of a video of a young woman in a distressed state by a serving Garda, apparently for amusement.
There is clearly a deep rooted cultural issue within the gardaí. It is hard to see how the Commission will be able to complete their work when faced with this sort of culture, one in which the Commissioner is completely embedded.”