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 Header Item Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Deaths of Former Members: Expressions of Sympathy

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 865 No. 2

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The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I do not have any information about who is or is not on a promotion list. I am glad the Deputy clarified the comment that he made.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace The Taoiseach can check the record later.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Deputy raised a number of issues. The Guerin report will follow the inquiry that the Government has agreed to set up. That will be set in place after today. The Fennelly inquiry is under way. The sole member wrote to me looking for an extension of time until the end of this year, and I have granted that. I support, if possible, the production by the inquiry of earlier reports in respect of a number of specific matters.

The review commission received 307 cases, some of which go back 30 years, and the vast majority of those have been examined by the panel of senior counsel and junior counsel appointed to review those cases. I assume that when they have completed their work they will bring that to the attention of the Minister for Justice and Equality very quickly.

I understand that the changes that have been made in respect of fixed penalty notice are significant and that there are now three senior personnel who are entitled and authorised to relieve penalty charges where they might be applied for whatever particular reasons. Yesterday the Government appointed a judge to oversee that practice, to give it further transparency and accountability.

Regarding the issues that I have missed in the Deputy's long list-----

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Garda authority legislation.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny When is that due to be ready?

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald It is due shortly.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The Garda authority is due in here very shortly.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace The abuse of the penalty points system was so endemic that independent bodies have had to be created to keep an eye on things. The Taoiseach is not accepting the fact that there is massive indiscipline in the senior ranks of the force. Can he explain why there has been so little opportunity to debate policing matters since last summer? Can he also explain why the Government has no appetite for depoliticising policing in Ireland, despite the recommendations of the likes of Professor Dermot Walsh? Anyone who read Conor Brady's book over Christmas would have noted that the politicisation of policing in Ireland has gone on since the 1950s at a really bad level, and that is part of the huge problem we are facing. Until the Government decides to depoliticise it and we have an independent police authority that acts as a buffer between the Government of the day and the police force, we will continue to have these problems. The former Minister, Deputy Shatter, would still be in power and would still have his job if there had not been such a flawed system, and the Government is not correcting it.

I remind the Taoiseach of my last question to him, which he did not answer. I asked if he could tell the House when he was first made personally aware of very serious Garda malpractice in the Athlone area and what action he took.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I am not clear on what the Deputy is talking about in respect of the Athlone area. He will have to give me further detail on that, and if he wishes to do so, he can give me it after the completion of the Order of Business.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Somebody might have picked it up.

A Deputy: What about you, Mattie?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny In respect of the independent policing authority, this is the most radical shake-up in the justice system since the foundation of the State. The appointment of the Garda Commissioner was subject to open competition and was a completely independent system for making that recommendation for appointment by Government. All promotions of senior personnel are done by a panel for which completely independent people apply. It is not a politicised system any more because the situation is completely independent, and there has been the most radical shake-up since the foundation of the State.

Out of 400,000 penalty points issued every year, about 2.9% are quashed, in accordance with the system that applies, where that is valid. There are only three people who can now quash penalty points. Since the new system was introduced, only seven cases have been referred for further analysis under this new system. In anybody's language there has been a serious shake-up, and it has been for the better in terms of accountancy, accountability and transparency in a system that is very important for people.

Deaths of Former Members: Expressions of Sympathy

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: In accordance with usual practice, the Taoiseach makes the proposal and the leader of the party of the deceased Member leads the expressions of sympathy.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I so propose.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Táimid bailithe anseo inniu chun ár n-ómós agus ár meas dár gcara dílis, John Carty, a chur in iúl. Fear lách, cineálta agus gnóthach ab ea John. D'oibrigh sé go dian dícheallach, Domhnach is dálach, ar son mhuintir Mhaigh Eo agus ar son mhuintir na tíre. Bhí muinín aige as a mhuintir. Bhí siad compordach leis agus muinín acu as chomh maith. Bhí suim faoi leith aige i gcúrsaí talmhaíochta agus, gan amhras, i nithe a bhain le forbairt na tuaithe. Bhain sé taitneamh as a shaol polaitíochta. Duine nádúrtha agus an-chairdiúil ab ea é.

Today is a bittersweet moment for the family of the late John Carty. It is a time to mark the passing of a beloved family man and to remember his life's work and legacy and, in particular, his contribution to parliamentary democracy. His family will have special, intimate memories of John to cherish. I hope that today we can show some sense of the deep affection in which he was held by the public and by the Members of this House.

On behalf of my party and on my own behalf, I acknowledge the presence of John's family and again express our sincere sympathies to his wife, Kathleen, his children, Lisa, Ciara, James, Cathal, John Henry, Eamonn, Caoimhín and Iarla, his brother, Michael, and sisters, Anne and Joan.

It is only right and proper that we take some time today, in the people's Chamber, to pay our respect to a man of the people. John Carty embodied the best of a local representative. He was steeped in his community. His warm personal approach stretched across his constituency. He always had time for a chat, a cup of tea and a kind word, and always had a listening ear for people's problems. He knew his home and its people intimately. He had a keen eye for family detail that reached back deep into local history. His approach to politics was one of empathy, understanding and patience. It was the mark of the man.

We cannot talk about John Carty without talking of his beloved home county. John was a true son of Mayo, loyal to a fault. He carried the torch for the Fianna Fáil Party in Mayo across all levels of the organisation in countless campaigns over the decades. He believed in public service and lived that out at grassroots level with the party with which he threw in his lot.

On these benches, we can take pride in the work and effort of decent men and women like John Carty who believed in politics as a way to better one's community and to make a fundamental difference to the quality of life of others. I am proud that he chose Fianna Fáil as the vehicle through which he could strive to improve his community, his county and his country.

When he topped the poll for election to Mayo County Council in 1999, his hard work on the ground and genuine warmth was rightly rewarded. With his warm personality he built up a strong reputation, and when called upon to contest the general election, he answered proudly. His endeavour on behalf of his local constituents in Mayo earned him a hard-won place as a Government representative for the county in 2002.

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