Written Answers - Garda Review.

Thursday, 12 April 2001

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 534 No. 5

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  19.  Mr. Howlin  Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue   the position with regard to the efficiency review of the Garda being carried out by a company (details supplied) under the SMI; if he will give an undertaking that no further Garda stations will be closed as a result of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10986/01]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy will be aware that, under the strategic management initiative, a fundamental review of all aspects of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Garda Síochána was completed in 1997. The Government appointed a steering group in February 1998 to develop and implement its recommendations. The aim is to position the Garda organisation to respond efficiently and effectively to the challenges it faces in this new millennium.

Significant progress has been achieved in a number of projects, including financial management, human resource management, training and promotion, civilianisation, rostering and quality service. All projects are being developed in full consultation with staff associations.

The particular review referred to by the Deputy is a review of the Garda structures and operating systems. In December 2000 consultants were recruited to carry out this comprehensive and complex review. Under the terms of reference, the consultants are required to develop the HQ and regional organisations structures, review the HQ specific and core role functions, review roles of ranks and develop criteria in relation to stations. In completing the work programme, the consultants must evaluate a range of options identified under the SMI programme and make clear recommendations.

In assessing the criteria in relation to stations, I understand that the consultants will be focusing on the best use of Garda resources to deliver a policing service to the community. Contrary to recent media reports, the consultants will not be recommending the closure of any Garda stations but will be highlighting criteria which could be taken account of in any future assessment of how the functions or location of Garda stations best serve the community. I want to make it absolutely clear that I have no proposals in relation to the closure of any Garda station.

The consultants will not report until August or September this year. The recommendations in their report will then be considered by the Garda SMI steering group and, ultimately, by Government.

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