The Garda Síochána was reorganised by the Garda Síochána Act 2005. The legislation updated and consolidated the existing legislation. It also provided for The Garda Síochána Ombudsman and The Garda Síochána Inspectorate. The legislation reconstitutes the Garda Síochána and provides for its financing by the State.

Personnel and Organisation

The government appoints the Garda Síochána Commissioner and the Deputy and Assistant Garda Commissioner. The government may remove such persons if they fail to perform their functions with due diligence and effectiveness or have engaged in conduct which discredits the office or may prejudice the proper performance of its functions or the removal would be in the government’s opinion in the best interest of the Garda Síochána.

In late 1970s and 1980s there were a number of occasions when the government exercised the power to remove the Garda Síochána on change of government. However, despite this, in  practice, an Garda Síochána is independent of government and is not subject to political direction.

The government may appoint to the ranks of Superintendent and Chief Superintendent. Such senior officers may be removed in the same manner as above by the government.

The Garda Commissioner may appoint subject to resources such number of persons as he sees fit to the ranks of Garda Sergeant and Inspectors. The Garda Commissioner may dismiss anyone at the rank of Inspector or below if he is of the opinion that due to the person’s misconduct by act or omission that his membership would undermine public confidence in the Garda Síochána and the dismissal is necessary to maintain such  confidence.

The member must have been informed of the basis of the opinion and given the opportunity to respond and to advance reasons against. The Commissioner must consider the response and remain of the opinion. The government must consent to the dismissal.

The Garda Commissioner may appoint members to the Garda Síochána Reserve to assist the Gardai in performing their function. A member of the Garda Síochána Reserve must have undertaken the prescribed training. They are  subject to limitations of powers as the Garda Commissioner may determine. Subject to this , members of the Garda Síochána Reserve while on duty have the same powers, immunity privileges and duties as a Garda.

The Garda Síochána Reserve members may only be appointed if the Garda Commissioner submits policies for the training of persons to be so appointed and regulations have been made concerning recruitment,  training and the terms of the position. The Garda Síochána may determine the range of functions and duties to be carried out by the members of the Garda Síochána Reserve.

The legislation provides for the establishment of Garda Representative Associations to represent members of Garda Síochána in matters affecting welfare, efficiency including pay, pensions and conditions of service. The association must be independent of any other body outside the Garda Síochána. It may employ persons who are not members of Garda Síochána. Members of Garda Síochána shall not become members of any trade unions or associations other than those established above. Their functions are to control and influence the pay, pensions, and conditions of service of Garda Síochána.

The Garda Commissioner may appoint civilians determining their grades and numbers and responsibilities. Civilian members serving an Garda Síochána are civil servants of the government. The Civil Servants Regulation Act applies to such staff.

The Garda Commissioner may delegate any of his function that are generally or specifically subject to conditions or otherwise. The delegation may be varied.

The Minister for Justice is to issue guidelines to local authorities and the Garda Commissioners regarding the establishment and maintenance of joint policing committees by the Local Authorities and the Garda Commissioner.

The guidelines under the legislation concerning joint policing committees may include provisions for establishment of the committee, details of membership nominated by local authority and members of the Garda Síochána, members of the Oireachtas, members of other public bodies.

Other persons including those representing community and voluntary interest are contemplated.

The JPC\’s serve as a forum for consultations, discussions, recommendations on policing and crime issues within the local authority area. They may review levels and patterns of crime and underlying factors. They may establish and coordinate Local Policing Fora. They are to meet twice yearly.

The Chief Superintendent, Community Relations & Community Policing monitors the JPC process. The National JPC Monitoring Office

  • coordinates and advices on policy development,
  • provides information on literature,
  • attending the JPC meetings,
  • facilitates meetings and seminars,
  • liaises with police service and agencies.

The Minister for Justice may revise guidelines in relation to policing, Joint Policing Committee.

The Minister for Justice with the approval of the government may issue directives to the Garda Commissioner on any matters relating to the Garda Síochána. The Garda Commissioner must comply with  directives. It must be laid before the Houses of Oireachtas, unless it would prejudice the security of the State, investigation of crime, or prosecution of offences, in which case, the fact of the directive only need be laid before the Houses.

The Minister for Justice may determine the priorities for an Garda Síochána in performing its  functions. He shall consult with the Garda Commissioner before the determining or revising priorities or establishing revised performance targets. A copy of the priorities and performance targets and any revisions of them are to be published and laid before the Oireachtas. The Garda Síochána has to inform the Minister of measures taken to achieve the objectives,  priorities and performance targets.

A member of an Garda Síochána is obliged to, if directed by a member of higher rank to account for anything he has done or omitted to do while on duty. A failure to comply may be the subject of disciplinary action under the disciplinary regulations. The member shall be informed that failure may lead to dismissal. Information provided by a Garda is not admissible in criminal proceedings against a member. It is admissible in disciplinary proceedings.

The Garda Commissioner must account to the government and Minister for Justice and to the Secretary General of the Department of Justice in relation to his functions. He must furnish any documents under his control including material in the form of Garda records, statements. He must provide the Attorney General with all material required in connection with the conduct of legal proceedings on behalf of the State.

The Garda Commissioner must keep the Minister for Justice informed generally in relation to matters relating to significant developments concerning peace, public order, protection of life and property, protection of the State and significant developments that might be expected to affect public confidence in the Garda Síochána and the other matters which the Commissioner believes should be brought to the Minister\’s attention.

The Minister may direct an inquiry in relation to any aspect of the administration, practice and procedure of the Garda and request a report on the conclusion of the inquiry. The person appointed to undertake the inquiry may require members of the Garda Síochána possessing information to give the relevant information and may require them to attend for that purpose. Anything provided by the member is not admissible is any criminal proceedings against the member. The Minister may publish the report.


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