Minister Flanagan speaking on GSOC in the Dáil today

 

'In May 2017 the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform provided sanction for 5 additional staff members for a dedicated protected disclosures unit in GSOC.  This number was sanctioned pending the receipt of a detailed analysis of the workload that protected disclosures would generate for GSOC.  This was received in February of last year and following a consultation process between officials from my Department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Ombudsman Commission, sanction was granted in November last for an additional 42 staff members, including a further 5 staff for the protected disclosures unit, as sought by GSOC. 

I was pleased to note that in her response to the sanctioning of these additional posts, the Chair of GSOC said that this demonstrated real political support for Garda oversight and the additional staff would allow GSOC the ability to fulfil and expand its statutory remit and meet the needs of the community.

GSOC's budget for 2019 has been increased to €10.7 million which is an increase in core funding of €1.6 million (18%).  This increase will enable GSOC to recruit the additional staff that have been sanctioned and I am advised that this is being actively progressed by GSOC management.

In addition to providing for the increased staffing levels, I am confident this overall budget allocation to GSOC for 2019 will ensure that it has the necessary resources, including information technology, to fulfil its mandate. 

I am confident that there is no financial impediment to GSOC fulfilling its overall mandate or specifically its mandate in relation to protected disclosures.  It has been sanctioned to recruit all the staff that it requested and has been provided with the financial wherewithal to do so.

As well as providing the resources that it requires, the Government has approved the recommendations contained in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, as a result of which GSOC's remit will be expanded.  The Scheme of the Policing and Community Safety Bill will be published later this year and will set out the proposed changes in line with the Commission report. '