Fitzgerald appointment chance to strengthen oversight of Gardaí, says Bruton

Minister for Jobs defends speed of Government’s response to Garda controversies

Frances Fitzgerald's appointment as Minister for Justice replacing Alan Shatter is an opportunity to strengthen oversight of the Garda Síochana, said the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton.

Speaking on a trade mission to the US, Mr Bruton said he was “very saddened” to see Mr Shatter’s departure but welcomed Ms Fitzgerald’s appointment.

“It is an opportunity to put in a really strong Garda authority, a strong Garda oversight system, a strong system for dealing with any allegations of wrongdoing, and I think that there will be good to come out of this,” said the Minister, speaking in Chicago on the final stop of his six-city visit.

“We will put in place a far better policy for the future as a result of this.”


Mr Bruton defended the speed of the Taoiseach’s response to the recent controversies concerning the Garda, saying that he didn’t think there could be “any accusation of tardiness” by the Government.

“When you see the number of inquiries that are in place, they have all been put in pretty promptly,” he said.

Mr Shatter appeared to have made the decision to resign “almost immediately” after seeing the findings of the inquiry by Sean Guerin SC into allegations of Garda malpractice, said Mr Bruton.

“At every point I think the Taoiseach has been very open and wants to make sure the highest standards are applied and these things are independently investigated,” he said.

“He has said, let’s have it all out on the table and let’s act on the consequences, and that is what is happening here. You will see a suite of reforms that will greatly strengthen the position of the Gardaí for the long term.”

Duing the trade mission Mr Bruton travelled to Houston and Austin in Texas, and Indianapolis, Cleveland, Grand Rapids and Chicago in the American Mid-West on his five-day trip.

The Minister's visit to Chicago overlapped with the arrival yesterday of President Michael D Higgins on a five-day trip to the US. The President is visiting America's third largest city and Indiana to deliver the commencement address at Indiana University in Bloomington where studied sociology in 1967.

Mr Higgins will meet Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former US congressman who was President Obama's first White House chief of staff, at City Hall this morning.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times