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Other Questions - Garda Promotions

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 67.  Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  his plan for Garda promotions in 2012; the number of anticipated promotions; when this matter will be brought to Cabinet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6584/12]

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy may be aware, today I secured Cabinet approval for the appointment of two assistant Garda commissioners, eight chief superintendents and 23 superintendents, giving a total of 33 appointments to senior Garda ranks. All of the consequential vacancies at sergeant and inspector ranks will also be filled.

I was very glad to secure the agreement of my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Cabinet as a whole for such a significant number of appointments. In seeking these promotions I was conscious of the need to enable the Garda Commissioner to fill key positions in the senior ranks and maintain both the investigative and also the management and supervisory capacity of the force.

With clarity emerging on the final number of retirements expected by the end of this month, I will be discussing with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the case for filling outstanding vacancies in the senior ranks.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary I welcome the fact that the Minister eventually got around to getting Cabinet approval for that and that he has got agreement to fill the consequential vacancies down the line. What is the timeframe for the filling of those consequential vacancies?

To return to a previous question, is there a transition team in place in the Department of Justice and Equality? If so, who is on it, and when was it established to manage all these retirements and the consequences of them for An Garda Síochána and for the other organisations that come under the Minister’s remit?

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter On the question of when the other appointments will be made, I have had discussions with the Garda Commissioner — I talked to him today after these appointments were announced — and I understand he will put in place the appropriate procedures for the making of the appointments. I do not want to give an exact date because it is a matter for him in the context of his managerial function of the force, but I understand he will proceed with all appropriate speed in that regard.

I answered the question the Deputy has again raised regarding transitional arrangements in my Department. We took a very comprehensive overview, at a very early stage after my appointment, of the different steps to be taken in dealing with the different issues that would come up, including the position with regard to Garda retirements and where we would be at 29 February. It was deemed appropriate that these promotions would be announced today. Other senior members of the force will retire on 29 February and those positions are the subject of conversations between myself and the Minister, Deputy Howlin, and I expect that appropriate decisions will be made in that regard.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary There is no transition team in place.

[258]Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I will eventually get to that.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Michael McCarthy): Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy I call Deputy Buttimer. He has one minute. The Deputies will have to change Standing Orders.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary Bring back the Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer I very much welcome the news by the Minister of the appointment of people to 33 positions, in particular those of 23 superintendents and eight chief superintendents, and the fact that consequential posts will be filled. That will augment the force, the members of which are doing great work. As a consequence of the new slimmed-down public service, are there plans to create new Garda divisions and structures in the Garda Síochána, the members of which are doing great work in our communities?

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Today was a good news story for the Garda.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Hear, hear.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter It is important that at a time of financial difficulty, we approach——

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary The Minister was shamed into it by the Commissioner.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Michael McCarthy): Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy Allow the Minister to continue without interruption.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter ——the issue of the use of resources effectively.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary They had to come in and beg.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Garda Commissioner would have known a little time ago that these matters would come before the Cabinet this week.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Hear, hear.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary They were supposed to come forward in January.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter There is no difference of any description between myself and the Garda Commissioner——

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Deputy Calleary is disappointed that the positions are being filled.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Michael McCarthy): Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy The Minister to continue without interruption.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter ——who is doing a tremendous job.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Hear, hear.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary No thanks to the Minister.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter In the ongoing issue of ensuring maximum efficiencies, there will be a look at the current structure of the Garda force to determine whether further efficiencies can be effected and resources targeted in a manner that is to the benefit of the Garda and the general community. That is ongoing work that will continue during the course of this year both within the force and in the context of any other structure that may be put in place.

[259]Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary For the record of the House, it should be noted that the Garda Commissioner was forced to come to the Committee of Public Accounts meeting last Thursday to ask for these vacancies to be filled.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer He was not forced to come to it last Thursday; he was due to come to it.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Michael McCarthy): Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy Deputy Calleary to continue without interruption. He might put a question to the Minister.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary There is no good news about being embarrassed into it.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter That is more nonsense.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary Is there a transition team in place in the Department of Justice and Equality——

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer All the Deputy wanted to do was to give out in the hope that the positions would not be filled.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary ——such as that announced by the Taoiseach?

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter There is a transition team in place at Government level which covers a broad range of Departments and deals with any issues that may arise as a result of the retirements. As I keep on telling the Deputy, however, who seems to think there is something mysterious about this, in the context of the Department of Justice and Equality, we have, in consultation with the Garda Commissioner and throughout the period since I was appointed, looked at the developments, the areas where vacancies would arise, predicted where we might be at the end of February, and made decisions accordingly.

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien The Minister said the Commissioner was aware these appointments were going to be before the Cabinet today. When did he become aware that the appointments were to be made?

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The memo on the matter, without breaching the concept of Cabinet confidentiality, would have been prepared — if it is of assistance to the Deputy to know this — before last week. Appropriately the matter was before the Cabinet today.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer Will the Minister allay the suspicions of Deputy Dara Calleary by confirming that the announcements made today will lead to enhanced policing and that they will not in any way diminish——

Acting Chairman (Deputy Michael McCarthy): Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy The time allowed for this question is diminished. We must move on.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer The world will not end on 29 February.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter It is important that we confirm for Deputy Dara Calleary who constantly thinks the world is about to end — every weekend he seems to issue a statement suggesting the end of the world is nigh——

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary I took lessons from the Minister.

[260]Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter ——that the world will continue beyond 29 February right into March, April and May. The Government will continue to make positive decisions to the benefit of the country, not just in the areas of justice and defence but also across the broad range of areas in which my colleagues in government work.


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