The Social Democrats have congratulated the incoming Garda Commissioner on his appointment – but cautioned that an entirely new senior management team must also be recruited to lead reforms to address deep-rooted cultural problems within the force.
The party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:
“I congratulate Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris on his appointment at this crucial time when An Garda Síochána faces significant reforms and awaits the proposals of the Commission on the Future of Policing. I wish him well in the role and expect that he will draw on his extensive experience with the PSNI which itself has undergone radical reforms in recent years.
“It needs to be stressed that the crisis of confidence facing An Garda Síochána cannot be tackled simply by recruiting a new Commissioner and then continuing on with business as usual. Putting a new person at the head of a dysfunctional organisation without addressing the causes of the deep-rooted cultural problems within the force is a recipe for disaster.
“It is clearly time for exceptional measures, starting with the recruitment of a whole new senior management team, some of whom should also be recruited from outside this jurisdiction. That team’s role should be to bring about a fundamental change in the present culture of the Garda Síochána and to oversee a step-change in how the force operates and is managed. Senior gardaí should be invited to reapply for their current positions within a reformed force and if necessary, some of them should be given an opportunity to take early retirement.