ICCL welcomes "clarification" by PAS of its role in Policing Authority appointments
- Categorized in: Justice
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed the statement made today (6 January 2016) by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) clarifying the role played by PAS in the recent appointment of ordinary members to the new Policing Authority.
The provision of this information enhances the transparency of the PAS selection exercise and provides reassurance around its rigour. In the light of this information, the ICCL feels obliged to withdraw its previous statement that the Public Appointments Service served merely as a “fig leaf” of independence during the appointments process. The Council accepts that PAS conducted an open, independent and robust selection exercise, in accordance with section 44 of the Garda Siochana (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015.
However, irrespective of the role played by PAS, section 44 of the Garda Siochana (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 also ensured that the Policing Authority appointments process taken as a whole remained a political one.
Thanks to the 2015 Act, the Government was under no legal obligation to accept all or any of the seventeen candidates forwarded to it by PAS, and was free to make its own selection of the final eight to be appointed. On this occasion, the Government chose its eight appointees from the list of seventeen submitted to it by PAS. Nonetheless, the role of the Oireachtas in scrutinising these first Policing Authority appointments was legislatively bypassed and both the Public Appointments Service and the Oireachtas can be bypassed again, in accordance with the 2015 Act, if the Government decides to reappoint the same members to the Authority in 3-4 years time.
A properly constituted Policing Authority must not only be, but be seen to be, independent and impartial. Fully independent recruitment of its members is a key way in which its credibility can be bolstered and the ICCL will be calling upon the incoming Government immediately to repeal the provisions of the 2015 legislation that empower it to retain political control of the reappointments process.
Today's statement by PAS can be consulted here.