Thu, 21 Oct, 2021 – 20:00 Deputy Political Editor
A number of protected disclosures have been made in relation to the cancellation of 999 calls, the Justice Minister has confirmed.
Heather Humphreys has said the inappropriate cancellation of emergency calls is a “very serious matter”, that “falls significantly below the high standards that the public expect from gardaí and the high standards the force sets for itself”.
It comes as Garda Commissioner Drew Harris confirmed a number of gardaí are under investigation after they continued to cancel 999 calls without going through the proper procedure.
The Policing Authority has been told a further 53 emergency calls were cancelled without a proper policing response, even after previous improper cancellations had been highlighted earlier this year and new procedures had been put in place.
There is an ongoing review of 200,000 calls, 3,000 of which are related to domestic violence.
Speaking in the Dáil, Ms Humphreys said: “I am particularly concerned that anyone experiencing domestic abuse, or, indeed, anyone in a vulnerable position, who summoned the courage to seek assistance may not have received it.”
Asked by Social Democrat co-leader Catherine Murphy if protected disclosures had been made on the issue, the minister confirmed a number of disclosures had been made.
Ms Humphreys added her department “has ongoing engagement with the Garda authorities in relation to their work to address the issues which have arisen in respect of management of 999 calls”.
Separately, Ms Humphrey’s told the Dáil she would continue to engage with the Garda Commissioner on the new Policing Bill, after Mr Harris warned it would give “disproportionate” powers to oversight bodies.
Highlighting the public concerns raised by the commissioner, Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary questioned the minister on the Bill.
“When we hear the Garda Commissioner, who is a straight-down-the-line kind of commissioner, use the words ‘disproportionate, unconstitutional and will not withstand an expensive and time-consuming test in the courts’, that needs to be dealt with urgently,” Mr Calleary said.
Ms Humphreys said she has had “good engagement” with the commissioner and discussions were ongoing.