The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has published new legislation to strengthen the powers and remit of An Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. The Bill will ensure that the wider public will have confidence in GSOC and how it carries out its important tasks.
Commenting on the Bill’s publication the Minister said: “This Bill is a significant piece of legislation and it is an important element in the comprehensive programme of justice reform that is being undertaken by the Government. In particular, and in line with commitments given by the Government, the Bill delivers key elements to strengthen the powers and remit of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC)”.
The Bill will amend and update the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and other
relevant legislation with the main objectives of:
- bringing the Garda Commissioner within the remit of GSOC for the
- extending GSOC’s powers of investigation in relation to complaints
involving suspected criminal behaviour;
- ensuring that the Garda Síochána provides information sought by GSOC for an investigation as soon as practicable:
- providing greater autonomy for GSOC in examining the Garda Síochána’s practices, policies and procedures.
The Minister continued: “The measures provided for in the Bill take account of the results of a public consultation process initiated by the Cabinet Committee on Justice Reform and also relevant work within the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. Further changes in relation to GSOC will be considered in the context of the legislation to establish a new Policing Authority which I will introduce as quickly as possible.”
With regard to the enactment of the new Bill, the Minister added: “It is my intention that the Bill will become law as quickly as possible and I look forward to having it debated by the Houses of the Oireachtas at an early stage.”