TRAINING for gardaí and civilian staff on dealing with calls about domestic violence is to get underway in Cork in the coming weeks.
The training follows a recent internal investigation into more than 3,000 calls about matters including domestic violence, missing persons or health issues which were cancelled in 2019 and 2020.
The probe is continuing and is expected to be raised with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at his next meeting with the Policing Authority in September. Last month, the matter dominated a meeting between the two parties.
The investigation was launched when it was discovered that 999 calls had been cancelled before there was a proper policing response.
Now, sources say that training will be rolled out in every Garda division in the coming weeks, with four such events scheduled for gardaí in Cork city division.
The first will be within the next fortnight.
During a debate on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence in the Dáil this week, junior minister Hildegarde Naughton said: “It is, of course, of particular concern to us all that anyone experiencing domestic abuse and, indeed, anyone in a vulnerable position, who summoned the courage to seek assistance may not have received it.
"It is vital that the best interests of victims and anyone whose calls were cancelled inappropriately are the priority and focus as this is being investigated.”
She continued: “In February, the then Minister for Justice, Deputy Helen McEntee, requested the Policing Authority to oversee the ongoing work by An Garda Síochána to review how 999 calls were handled. It is welcome that there has been ongoing engagement on this issue between the authority and the Garda Commissioner at both their public and private meetings. The report from the authority on this matter will be provided to the minister, Deputy Humphreys, and she will consider any recommendations made in that report.
"Importantly, the Garda Commissioner has assured the Minister that when someone calls 999 now, he or she can expect and trust that An Garda Síochána will help and, of course, that should always be the case.”