Minister cautions that report on future of policing will take time to implement

GRA welcomes recommendation for body-worn cameras for gardaí

Kathleen O’Toole, chairwoman of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, at the commission’s report launch in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Maxwell’s

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said the programme of reform recommended by the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland is challenging and will take time to implement.

The Minister said he welcomed the report published on Tuesday, which will require actions “across Government”.

Mr Flanagan said he and his officials will be discussing the implementation of the report with the Garda Commissioner and relevant government departments will be consulted with.

“Once that process is completed, I intend to seek the Government’s approval for a high-level implementation plan to take forward the report,” he said in a statement.


“In addition, I have requested my department, in consultation with the Department of the Taoiseach, to move quickly to put arrangements in place for the establishment of the Implementation Group for Policing Reform and Implementation Programme Office as recommended by the commission.”

The commission, which has considered policing at home and abroad for over a year, published more than 50 recommendations in its report which included a new approach to community policing, a new district policing model and the replacement of GSOC with a new independent complaints body.

The Garda Representative Association said it welcomed many of the findings and noted that the report states body-worn cameras should be rolled out to gardaí.

“As incidents last week in Dublin showed, the issue of independent verifiable evidence is critical when gardaí interact with the public in confrontational circumstances,” it said.

“In this regard, the GRA has been calling for body-worn cameras to protect our members for some time on the basis that they are the true record of any incident.”

Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan TD said the focus must now be on ensuring that “this Government does not waste this crucial opportunity to achieve real reform of policing in this country”.

“The transformation of Ireland’s policing is too important an issue for this report to be put on the shelf with others before. Its implementation will require tangible action and the resources to deliver its many recommendations,” he said.

“We are currently in the midst of Budget 2019 negotiations and a key priority for Fianna Fáil will be ensuring that provision is made to ensure the initial steps towards implementation of the report recommendations can begin.”

Labour’s justice spokesperson Sean Sherlock TD said the Minister must now commit to “fast-track” the measures.

“It will take some time to digest the full report and its implications, but an implementation strategy is now needed.

“The Minister wants time to consult with other government departments and agencies, and has said it will take three months before there is an implementation plan. That isn’t good enough, and it must be moved on more quickly,” he said.

“It’s time to draw a line under years of controversy and transform our policing service so that it is focused on serving communities across Ireland.”

Liam Herrick, executive director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) said the emphasis on human rights in the commission’s report marks “a sea change in how we understand policing in Ireland”.

“We look forward to seeing the implementation of a human rights-based approach at all levels of Irish policing, including by the creation of an internal Garda Human Rights Unit with responsibility for overseeing all areas of policing, and the appointment of independent human rights advisers to all oversight bodies,” he said.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times