Drug testing for Gardaí set to come into effect later this year
17th September 2022
NEW RULES AROUND drug testing for Gardaí are set to come into effect before the end of the year, according to a new action plan from the Department of Justice on tackling garda corruption.
Earlier this week, Justice Minister Helen McEntee received Government approval to publish the action plan to counter the threat of internal corruption within An Garda Síochána.
It follows on from a Garda Inspectorate’s report last year that examined the effectiveness of the force at preventing, detecting and mitigating the threat of internal corruption.
The Inspectorate’s report contained 34 recommendations aimed at strengthening anti-corruption measures and improving safeguards within the Gardaí, Department of Justice and Department of Transport.
While legislation has already been enacted to allow drug testing within the Gardaí, consultations are now ongoing with Garda Associations and Unions on the matter.
The action plan also states that any new entrants into the Gardaí would have to undergo mandatory drug testing “as a condition of their employment”.
“To support the Commissioner in this work, we have enacted legislation to enable testing of personnel for controlled drugs in An Garda Síochána and my officials are working on supporting legislation to bring this into effect,” said McEntee.
McEntee said that while the vast majority of Gardaí serve “with integrity each and every day”, the unique nature of An Garda Síochána means it is open to corruption.
“Significant work has been undertaken by An Garda Síochána to counter corruption in the organisation, and to develop a culture where it safe and encouraged to speak up if you are aware of corruption or wrongdoing.”
Since the Inspectorate’s report was published last year, two of its recommendations have been fully implemented by An Garda Síochána.
One of these was ensuring that there is clarity around the completion of ethics in public office declarations, while the other was around allowing the Garda anti-corruption unit have visibility of all reports of wrongdoing within the organisation.
Alongside the above, the Inspectorate’s report also had recommendations in the areas of:
- The abuse of power for sexual gain
- Conflicts of interest/business interests
- Discontinued court cases
- Operation of the statutory exemption from fixed charge penalties in emergency situations.