Taoiseach Makes Garda Commitments Following O'Higgins Report Publication

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has committed to increase garda numbers to 15,000, double the number of garda reserve officers and increase the number of civilian workers in An Garda Síochána to free up officers for frontline policing.

The Taoiseach made his comments in a statement addressing the newly published O'Higgins Commission Report.

In the statement, published on the Department of the Taoiseach website, Mr Kenny said: "The Report has been referred to the Garda Commissioner for examination and to indicate what further measures might be taken to try to prevent the type of difficulties outlined in it arising again.

"It has also been referred to the Policing Authority given its statutory role in oversight of An Garda Síochána.

As the House is aware, the former Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, resigned following publication of the Guerin Report in 2014.

"I am very pleased to acknowledge that the O'Higgins Report has found clearly that he acted properly at all times in relation to the handling of allegations made by Maurice McCabe."

The Taoiseach continued: "The O'Higgins Report highlights many significant failings in relation to the incidents it investigated, and makes a series of recommendations for change.

"While it is important that we debate these findings, we must always remember to keep the focus on the victims of crime, many of whom were not well served in the cases examined by the Commission.

"It is also important to put on record that a significant programme of reform has been underway since these events took place.

"Most importantly, a new independent Policing Authority has been established to oversee the performance by the Garda Síochána of its functions relating to policing services.

"I believe the new Authority will prove to be the key structural change to ensure modernisation and reform of the Garda Síochána in the months and years ahead."

The Taoiseach concluded: "I wish to assure the House that this Government will build on the progress made.

"The Programme for Government commits to a strong and visible police force in every community. We aim to:

• bring Garda numbers to 15,000.

• double Garda Reserve, and

• increase civilianisation to free up Gardaí for frontline policing.

Other reforms we have committed to include:

• measures to increase public confidence in policing, 

• enhancing the work of the Criminal Assets Bureau, 

• reviewing boundaries of Garda districts and the dispersement of Garda stations 

• tackling crime gangs 

• stopping repeat offenders 

• modernising our courts and legal system.

"The Government has re-established the Cabinet Committee on Justice Reform to oversee progress on this reform agenda."


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