Sinn Féin concerned over ‘fundamental flaws’ in Garda reform

Ó Laoghaire says those tasked with implementing change seem ‘unable’ to do so

Another issue of great concern to Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire was training and how half of front line gardaí were not trained to drive squad cars in pursuit.

Another issue of great concern to Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire was training and how half of front line gardaí were not trained to drive squad cars in pursuit.

 

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Justice has expressed concern about the “fundamental flaws” in An Garda Siochána’s reform process identified by the Policing Authority in its latest report.

In its fifth report on the Implementation of Changing Policing in Ireland programme, published on Wednesday, the authority reiterated its concern regarding the “slow pace of delivery” on the Garda’s modernisation and renewal programme.

However, it said “the pace of progress is now secondary to the authority’s concern over fundamental flaws in the reform process that are much more significant than timing”.

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said he and his party were concerned at the pace of reform which he described as “too slow”.

The force’s policy on modernisation and renewal was “seriously flawed.”

The Policing Authority was “sounding the alarm” on the slow rate of progress, he said and it appeared that those tasked with implementing the changes were “either unwilling or unable” to do so.

The reform measures had been signed off by the Government two years ago and this was the fifth report by the Policing Authority, said Mr Ó Laoghaire.

There was a lack of vision about how to expand the force which would have to prioritise how it is going to manage its resources.

Another issue of great concern to him was training and how half of front line gardaí were not trained to drive squad cars in pursuit. This should be done in Templemore, he said.

“This needs to be rectified.”

When asked about how Sinn Féin will work with new Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, Mr Ó Laoghaire said it will be up to Mr Harris to address concerns raised on his appointment.

“Confidence will have to earned.”

It will be important that the new Commissioner demonstrates that he does not belong to the former “toxic culture” of the RUC.

This was a reasonable expectation, he said.