A representative of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has said that his organisation had no problem with oversight and governance, but they did have concerns about powers that were “almost draconian”.
Superintendent Declan McCarthy told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that if members of the Garda Síochána had the same kinds of powers civil liberties groups would be up in arms.
Proposals in the forthcoming Policing and Security Bill, would give “unfettered power” to the Garda Ombudsman and the Policing Authority, according to the AGSI.
Among the proposals is ‘power of entry’ to garda premises, but the premises was not defined, pointed out Supt McCarthy, who added that gardaí cannot enter a premises without a warrant.
It was not up to the AGSI to find a compromise, he said, it was up to the Government.
There seemed to be a presumption of guilt of members against whom a complaint had been made, he said. If there was a complaint then there was a reluctance to allow promotions to go ahead. The slow pace of dealing with complaints was causing serious problems.
The AGSI is making a submission opposing the delays, he said.
Supt McCarthy also expressed concern at what he termed “knee jerk” commentary by some members of the Policing Authority which did not help anyone involved in the process, he said.