Kenny declines to comment on whilstleblower apology remark
Taoiseach has said he hopes the Garda Síochána itself accepts the need for accountability and effectiveness
Enda Kenny speaking at the annual St Patrick’s Day breakfast in Boston, Massachusetts, yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/Dominick Reuter
Taoiseach Enda Kenny declined comment on a call by Road Safety Authority chairman Gay Byrne for an apology to the two Garda whistleblowers who drew attention to the penalty points affair. “I didn’t hear the comment that Gay Byrne made,” he told reporters.
The Taoiseach has said he hopes the Garda Síochána itself accepts the need for accountability and effectiveness.
In Boston yesterday, Mr Kenny offered no view on emerging pressure from Labour for the Garda to come under the responsibility of a new independent authority. The Taoiseach said there could not be a situation in which the police force did not have public trust, and added that the Government recognised the requirement for serious reflection on the systems for the management and oversight of the force.
“We’d like to see a situation where the police force is absolutely understanding themselves of the necessity from a public point of view to have effectiveness, accountability, transparency . . . and that there be an oversight there that stands up to what the police force can be and should be.”
The Government has already asked the Oireachtas justice committee to examine the matter before Minister for Justice Alan Shatter makes a formal submission to the Cabinet.
The structure, mooted at a high level within Labour, would mark a turn away from the arrangement in which the Garda is accountable to the Minister for Justice and the secretary of the Department of Justice. Such a structure, similar to the arrangement for the Police Service of Northern Ireland, has never been part of Mr Kenny’s agenda.
In Boston, he said the Government was willing to see the question of Garda oversight dealt with on the basis of “exceptional competence, accountability, transparency and oversight”. Mr Shatter was working on that and the Government would make a decision in due course, the Taoiseach said.