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 Header Item Commission of Investigation (Certain Matters Relative to the Cavan-Monaghan Division of An Garda Síochána) Report: Statements (Resumed) (Continued)
 Header Item Adjournment Debate Matters
 Header Item Business of Dáil

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 910 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald] I do not believe the floor of this House is where the rights and wrongs of particular allegations can be settled. Our obligation as legislators is to ensure we have in place appropriate arrangements to deal with these difficult and complex matters.

Now we have new protected disclosure powers and we have increased the powers of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission as well. If it is shown that these processes are not adequate to deal with particular cases that have arisen, then of course I am quite prepared to look at whatever other measures I might properly take to address any concerns. What I cannot do, however, is seek to set aside the procedures we, as legislators, have enshrined in law to deal with these matters. Deputies should appreciate that while certain procedures are ongoing, I am simply not in a position to respond on the floor of the House to particular details which they see fit to disclose. After all, such details relate to protected disclosures, in respect of which there is a solemn obligation on me to respect people's right to confidentiality.

Yesterday, I referred to the sensitivities that arise around whistleblowing and the need to protect persons making allegations, but also the need to respect the rights of those against whom the allegations have been made. Deputy O'Callaghan made the same point this morning. This balance is the same balance that sits at the heart of our justice system. We cannot wish it away, nor should we.

I referred to the need for cultural change as well. In some ways that is as important or even more important than having robust procedures in place. Ultimately, any organisation is no more or less than its people and their attitudes, behaviours and the way they treat others. There will be occasions when whistleblowers are found to be right and occasions when they are found to be wrong. We can see findings of both in the O'Higgins report. The key thing is that whistleblowers are protected and treated with respect. That element takes cultural change as well as changes in policy and law.

A number of issues relating to how victims, in particular, female victims, were dealt with are covered in the O'Higgins report as well as the issues that arise in that regard in terms of Garda training. That is being prioritised by the Garda Commissioner at present.

A range of other points were made but I do not have the time to respond to them in detail. Since I am out of time I regret that I cannot respond to more of the points made. However, I assure the House that my focus now is on the failings that were identified in respect of victims, the treatment of whistleblowers, and ensuring the improvements we need to see in An Garda Síochána are carried through.

Adjournment Debate Matters

Acting Chairman (Deputy Declan Breathnach): Information on Declan Breathnach Zoom on Declan Breathnach I wish to advise the House of the following matters in respect of which notice has been given under Standing Order 23(3) and the name of the Member in each case: (1) Deputy Anne Rabbitte - the need for the Health Service Executive to expedite the appointment of a paediatric diabetic specialist at University Hospital Galway; (2) Deputy David Cullinane - health and safety defects in homes in Ceol na Mara, Kill, County Waterford, related to statutory fire obligations and the need for remedial works and supports for residents; (3) Deputy Jackie Cahill - the crisis in the dairy industry with Glanbia Ingredients Ireland paying 20.98 cent net per litre, which is evidence of below-cost production and will result in farmers going out of business; (4) Deputies Bernard J. Durkan and Catherine Murphy - approval of the tenders for Maynooth schools; (5) Deputy Mick Barry - the Fit to Work proposal for disability allowance payments in the programme for Government; (6) Deputies Clare Daly and Mick Wallace - to discuss the incursion of two peace activists onto the runway at Shannon Airport yesterday to inspect US military aircraft; (7) Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin - the urgent need to resource the Cavan-Monaghan drug and alcohol awareness services properly through increased and realistic resourcing by providing essential personnel to sustain this most important service; (8) Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh - that the Minister address the urgent need to fund the young people's disability transition programme of the WALK peer group in County Louth, as its funding ends in July this year, a change which will affect 119 young people with disabilities; (9) Deputy Eugene Murphy - to ask the Minister for Health to discuss the scheduled appointments of consultants at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, County Galway; and (10) Deputy Thomas Byrne - the need for the Minister for Education and Skills to address the serious industrial relations issues affecting schools currently and potentially in the coming weeks and months.

The matters raised by Deputies David Cullinane; Jackie Cahill; Bernard J. Durkan and Catherine Murphy; and Thomas Byrne have been selected for discussion.

Business of Dáil

Acting Chairman (Deputy Declan Breathnach): Information on Declan Breathnach Zoom on Declan Breathnach In accordance with the Orders of the House of 14 April and 5 May, respectively, I wish to confirm to the House that:

Following the recent appointment of Ministers of State and with effect from 24 May 2016, the following changes have been made to the membership of the Committee on Housing and Homelessness: Deputies Colm Brophy and Kevin Moran will replace Deputies Catherine Byrne and Seán Canney, respectively; and

The following members have been appointed to the Select Committee of Arrangements for Budgetary Scrutiny: Deputy Seán Barrett, Deputy Hildegarde Naughton, Deputy John Paul Phelan, Deputy Noel Rock, Deputy Dara Calleary, Deputy Lisa Chambers, Deputy Michael McGrath, Deputy Marc MacSharry, Deputy David Cullinane, Deputy Pearse Doherty, Deputy Joan Burton, Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett, Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly, Deputy Tommy Broughan and Deputy Eamon Ryan.

  Sitting suspended at 2.25 p.m. and resumed at 3.30 p.m.

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