The independent Toland Review group which found the Department of Justice to be closed and secretive should be invited back to conduct an urgent progress update on its reform recommendations, the Social Democrats said today.
The party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:
“The events of the past few days have exposed major problems once again within a dysfunctional Department of Justice, including what was referred in the Toland report as the department’s ‘deferential relationship with An Garda Síochána with a lack of sufficient strategic accountability being brought to bear on them by the department.’
“The Taoiseach yesterday acknowledged that recent events are evidence of a continued siloed and secretive culture in the department, which failed to provide accurate information to himself and to the Oireachtas.
“When it reported in 2014, the Toland Review set out a detailed programme of fundamental and sustained reforms to tackle the department’s closed, secretive and silo driven culture. It gave detailed timelines for these reforms, from three months, to one-year and two-year periods. Most importantly, the group chaired by Mr Kevin Toland offered to meet twice yearly to review progress made in implementing its recommendations.
“It is now abundantly clear that the Toland Review’s reforms have not been implemented with sufficient haste and rigour. The Taoiseach said yesterday he planned to set up yet another group to oversee ongoing reforms as set out in the Toland Report.
“Before that work begins, the group should be invited to get back together again as a matter of urgency under the chairmanship of Mr Toland. It could make an informed and independent assessment of progress to date and set out fresh priorities and timelines for outstanding reforms. The Toland group also needs to play an ongoing oversight role in the respect of the full implementation of the necessary reforms.
Deputy Shortall continued:
“Separately, I have written to the Taoiseach in relation to the planned review into the missing Department of Justice emails that should have been forwarded to the Charleton Tribunal. The Taoiseach yesterday proposed that the current secretary to the government would carry out that review. However, this work needs to be undertaken by someone who is independent of the civil service. I have suggested to the Taoiseach a number of names of potentially suitable people who could be considered to carry out this task.”