Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described the latest revelations around wrongful convictions for motoring offences and major discrepancies in the recording of breath tests on the Pulse system as deeply worrying and said they undermining support.
The Sinn Féin TD was speaking after his party tabled a Private Members Motion being that calls for a no confidence motion in the current Garda Commissioner.
Teachta Seán Crowe said:
“Public confidence in the senior management of An Garda Síochána is already on the floor following the appalling treatment of Sgt Maurice McCabe and other Garda whistle blowers
“That confidence has taken another nosedive and is being undermined by the disturbing news that approximately 14,700 people have been mistakenly convicted of motoring offences, while only half of the breath tests recorded on the Pulse System were actually carried out. An unbelievable amount (937,000) of breath tests were supposedly wrongly recorded on the Pulse system.
“Irish citizens are entitled to a standard of policing in which accountability is central to the ethos of the service. This can only be achieved on the basis of fairness, impartially and objectivity.
“Irish people are not fools but they are being treated like fools when it comes to the farcical reasons being offered for this latest mess.
“A high standard does not currently exist and the necessary public confidence in Garda management is being totally undermined.
“In recent years, there has also been a litany of problems associated with the Garda, including the original penalty-points scandal, the controversy surrounding the tapping of phone calls at Garda stations, and the smear campaigns waged against whistle blowers who were trying to hold the force to a higher standard.
“As well as the resignation of a Minister for Justice, we have seen the hasty departures of a Garda Commissioner and a General Secretary of the Department of Justice, the sacking of a confidential recipient and now we know that there are now numerous commissions of investigation on-going in relation to vital matters of policing and justice.
“The latest revelations come as part of what seems to be a never-ending crisis. It is a complete mess and no one appears at senior level to want to accept or take any responsibility. The Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, has said that she is concerned but surely the time for mere concern is long gone.
“Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, needs to go. It is clear that public confidence in An Garda Síochána will be further eroded by Noirin O’Sullivan remaining in office. The Government should now use the power provided to it, under the 2005 Garda Siochana Act and remove her.
“The matter should also be referred to the Public Accounts Committee as the state will have to cover the costs of this fiasco.
“All of these issues go to the very heart of public expectation and confidence in the integrity of our policing and justice systems. That necessary confidence in Garda Management does not exist at this time.”
Please note for your information, text of motion below.
That Dáil Éireann:
– everyone is entitled to policing that serves the people, by police services that are accountable, representative of the community and held to the highest professional and ethical standards;
– the need to hold the police and criminal justice systems to account on the basis of fairness, impartiality and objectivity;
– that public confidence in policing bodies is contingent on them and the persons who direct their activities being held accountable;
– The recent press statement made by Noirin O’Sullivan in regard to the recent disclosures that 937,000 breath tests were wrongly recorded on the Pulse system;
– 14,700 wrongful convictions of citizens due to Garda error;
– The failure of the Garda Commissioner to adequately explain the cause of this error and her failure in the statement to provide clarity needed to restore public confidence in An Garda Síochána
Also notes that;
– The Disclosures Tribunal into the treatment of Garda whistleblowers chaired by Mr. Justice Peter Charleton is now underway;
– That the Tribunal has been tasked with investigating serious allegations made in a Protected Disclosure concerning the actions of Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan;
– The potential negative impact on public confidence in An Garda Síochána when the actions of the sitting Garda Commissioner are central to the investigations of the ongoing Tribunal;
– Section 11 (1) (C) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 stipulates a person who holds the office of Garda Commissioner may be removed from office where the person’s removal from office would, in the Government’s opinion, be in the best interests of the Garda Síochána.
– The removal from office of the Garda Commissioner would be in the best interests of An Garda Síochána.