Garda reform panel includes former Canadian and UK police chiefs

Human rights lawyer Noleen Blackwell and former Gsoc member Conor Brady selected

Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The Government has agreed the scope of the root and branch review into An Garda Síochána and the panel which will oversee it.

It was also agreed that 11 more people would be appointed to the Independent commission tasked with examining the structure of the force.

Dr Antonio Oftelie from Harvard University; Ms Tonita Murray, who worked for over 40 years in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); and Sir Peter Fahy, a former Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and Cheshire Police have all been appointed.

Noeleen Blackwell, a human rights lawyer and Chief Executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Professor of Law at NUI Galway Donncha O’Connell and Johnny Connolly from the School of Law, University of Limerick will form part of the commission.

Former editor of The Irish Times and a member of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) from 2005 to 2011 Conor Brady; Dr Vicky Conway from the School of Law and Governance in Dublin City University; and management consultant Eddie Molloy have also been selected.

The commission will be chaired by former head of the Garda Inspectorate Kathleen O’Toole.

It will be tasked with examining the structure of the force, the culture and ethos, recruitment, training and management.

The oversight and accountability and whether the Policing Authority and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission should be given more powers will also form part of the scope of the inquiry.

The Commission is expected to report by September, 2018.

Speaking following Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, where the final terms of reference for the Commission were approved, Ms Fitzgerald said “the membership (of the Commission) seeks to strike the right balance between domestic and international perspectives and between academic, operational policing, community and victims’ perspectives, change management, governance and indeed Government experience. These are people of the highest calibre and will bring the necessary diversity of thought and expertise to the task.

“Issues which have arisen – many historic, some contemporary – mean the time is right for a fundamental examination of all aspects of policing in this state. This is an opportunity to stand back and examine how we are to be policed as we approach the centenary of the establishment of An Garda Síochána. At the same time the crucial work of day-to-day policing and oversight continues.

“This includes an extensive programme of reform underway in An Garda Síochána based on the reports of the Garda Inspectorate and under the independent oversight of the Policing Authority. These reforms, which affect all aspects of the administration and operation of An Garda Síochána, must not be impeded or delayed in any way by the establishment of the Commission.

“I am determined to continue shining a light to uncover bad practices and issues that must be resolved.”

Separately, Fianna Fáil said they would remove the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan from office if elected to Government.

The party’s spokesman on finance Michael McGrath said there were a series of Garda controversies, which required political responsibility.

However he confirmed Fianna Fáil would act to discharge Ms O’Sullivan of her duties if in power.