Policing Authority boss Feehily 'disappointed and alarmed' at garda failures

By Daniel McConnell Political Editor

The chair of the Policing Authority, Josephine Feehily, has said she is “disappointed and alarmed” with the widespread failures in practices within An Garda Siochana.

Addressing a marathon session of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) relating to the Garda College in Templemore scandal today, Ms Feehily said she and the Authority have said remedial action will be required to make the force fit for purpose.

“We have been struck across a number of topics with the absence of processes. So we would be disappointed. I would be alarmed if there was not remedial action,” Ms Feehily (pictured) said in response to questions to Labour's Alan Kelly.

Ms Feehily said that she was also concerned about references contained in documents from officers involved in Templemore seeking to “muddy the waters” by using charitable status in its dealings with the Revenue Commissioners.

“I think it is fair to say it would be of concern. I spoke about the important of openness and transparency. In the context of my current role, one would wonder about this type of language,” Ms Feehily said.

She was responding to questions from Fianna Fáil's Marc MacSharry who disclosed the documents to the committee during evidence yesterday.

Mr MacSharry said from his view that it appeared some attempted to keep matters obscure in their dealings with the Revenue Commissioners.

During questions to Mr Waters, Mr Kelly asked whether the Minister for Justice will use powers under Section 40 of the Garda Act, which permits the minister to request any document from the Garda Commissioner, should he deem it necessary.

Mr Kelly said that on foot of Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan “hiding” behind privilege, such powers should be invoked.

“The minister has the power to request documents as the Commissioner is hiding behind privilege,” Mr Kelly said.

In response, Mr Waters informed the minister has sought guidance from the new Attorney General Seamus Wolfe.

“Yes, the leader of your party has written to the minister and we have referred that matter to the Attorney General for advice,” he told Mr Kelly during tetchy exchanges.

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