Govt appoints Judge to head probe into Garda recordings

By Mary Regan, Political Editor

The Supreme Court Judge, Mr Justice Nial Fennelly, has been appointed to chair the Commission of Investigation into the practice of recording phone conversations at garda stations.

The Cabinet has still not agreed on the terms of reference for the inquiry, or a timeline for its completion. However, in a statement, it said they will be published shortly and subject to Dáil approval.

At its weekly Cabinet meeting this morning, it decided that the Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice & Equality should:

(1) ensure the retention and preservation of all tapes

(2) complete a full inventory of all tapes

(3) devise arrangements to ensure that tapes can be accessed, as required and in accordance with the law

It was also agreed that a new Cabinet committee on Justice Reform is to be established to oversee plans for an independent police authority and other issues relating to the gardaí.

It will be made up of the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and will make proposal for final approval by the wider Cabinet.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the Government said it "agreed that it is important that there be a full public debate on the issue of policing and justice reform" and therefore will "bring forward proposals for a public consultation process in the coming weeks."

It comes ahead of a no-confidence motion in the Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, which will be debated in the Dáil between 7:30pm and 9pm tonight.

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