Cabinet to consider move on policing authority

Frances Fitzgerald to present memo calling for early signature of legislation for body

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is to bring to Cabinet a memo requesting the early signature of the Garda Síochána Bill 2015 into law. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is to bring to Cabinet a memo requesting the early signature of the Garda Síochána Bill 2015 into law. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The Cabinet will consider a motion on Tuesday calling for the early signature of legislation to establish the independent policing authority.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald will bring to the Cabinet meeting a memo requesting that President Michael D Higgins sign the Garda Síochána Bill 2015 into law.

This would allow for the usual five-day waiting period after the passing of legislation to be bypassed and for the law to be signed into effect as soon as possible

A spokesman for Ms Fitzgerald said that this was necessary to ensure the authority could begin its work on January 1st, 2016.

The Bill will give some of the responsibilities currently exercised by the Government or the Minister for Justice to the independent authority.

The authority will have the power to nominate people to the posts of Garda Commissioner and Deputy Garda Commissioner, appoint persons to senior positions within the Garda civilian staff, approve the annual Garda policing plan and examine resources within the organisation.

Secretary general

Fianna Fáil has also criticised the failure of the Minister for Justice to appoint a secretary general in her department.

The position has been left vacant since the departure of Brian Purcell in July 2014.

The party’s justice spokesman Niall Collins said that the absence of a secretary general was worrying.

Mr Collins said: “Why is nobody wanting to serve as secretary general under this Government?”

The party also confirmed plans to recruit 1,500 new gardaí if elected to office next year.

He said Fianna Fáil wants to see the number of gardaí back at 14,000 and to re-open the Garda stations closed by the Government.