Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Leaders' Questions (Continued)

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 944 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar] These are matters that are under very serious consideration. From the Government's perspective, it is to take a broader view of the nature and structure of the Garda force for the years ahead in order that we can, for once and for all, try to put in place a system that will restore pride to the uniform and the trust and confidence of the ordinary people of the country. After all, the duty of Government is to have safety and security for the people and for the State and the Garda is a fundamental and central part of that.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The facts I set out at the beginning and which others have mentioned are not in dispute.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald Precisely.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin We do not need anybody to tell us that there were 1 million false breath tests were recorded or that there were 14,700 false convictions. They are facts and somebody must be accountable for those now.

As regards the notion that we will have another review, the Garda Inspectorate has published a series of very good reports. Almost 2,000 specific recommendations have been set out. Is it not now time to implement those rather than to set another body on another task of further reviews? Meanwhile the public are demoralised when it comes to understanding policing. Will the Taoiseach ask the Minister for Justice and Equality to bring legislation to the Houses as quickly as possible to empower the Policing Authority to draw up the implementation plan based on the Garda Inspectorate's report so that we can have the reform implemented and not talked about?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Deputy made the point that these are facts.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Yes.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That is true but we need to find out how those figures were accumulated because if breath tests were carried out on the roadside, there was a process involved and there is clearly a major difference between the number of breath tests that were carried out and the number that were reported.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin A difference of 100%.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny If these figures are accurate in every region of the country-----

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty They cannot be facts and there then be a questioning of their accuracy.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----then we need to know how that happened and on whose instructions that happened. I think that is a fundamental issue that goes to the heart of confidence-----

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald The Taoiseach is clutching at straws. It is most unedifying.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----and integrity in An Garda Síochána and I am sure Deputy Howlin would think likewise.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock Where does the buck stop on that?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny While the figures in terms of discrepancy speak for themselves, the question that needs to be answered is how those figures were accumulated. In what circumstances were those figures put down? In what circumstances were they put on the Garda website?

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty Who is going to be held accountable?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny These are the issues that need to be addressed not internally but externally.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Whether it was a cock-up or malice, somebody is accountable.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty Ireland does not do accountability.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That is an issue that the Government decided should be done today and for the future. It is not a question of bringing in legislation for the Policing Authority. It has its oversight role by law-----

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin It is not strong enough.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----and the inspectorate's report and the other reports are being overseen and implemented by the Policing Authority.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien There is no onus on the Garda to implement the inspectorate's report.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny My understanding is that the Policing Authority chairperson will meet the Garda Commissioner later this week and I am sure that is a matter that will be discussed by the two of them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Thank you, Taoiseach. I call Deputy Bríd Smith.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith Over recent days I have had the honour and privilege of meeting some very fine Irish men and women on the Bus Éireann picket lines. One of them, Tommy St. Ledger in Broadstone, has worked 51 years of his life in Bus Éireann and is due to retire in June on a glorious pension of €97 a week, having given his entire adult life and some of his childhood to Bus Éireann. Rory, from the Taoiseach's neck of the woods in the west, takes home approximately €600 a week, and that includes all the premiums and his overtime. He is a man who has a growing family, some in college. Michael, who is a new worker, takes home approximately €450 a week, and that includes all his premiums. He is a young man with a mortgage and children so small he is now doing picket duty in the evenings to avoid having to pay child care while he is on strike.

I want the Taoiseach to answer this question directly. Does he believe anyone could justify taking 30% of the wages of those three people I have given him as examples? That is what is being proposed by Bus Éireann in its attack on the pay and conditions of workers throughout the country.


Last Updated: 03/03/2020 15:23:03 First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page