What is the Policing Authority?
The Policing Authority is an independent statutory body whose role is to oversee the performance of the Garda Síochána in its provision of policing services.
When was it set up?
The Authority was established by the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 on 1 January 2016. This legislation sets out the functions of the Authority.
Is the Policing Authority independent?
Yes. The Policing Authority is established as a statutorily independent body and it is independent in the performance of its functions under the legislation.
The Authority is not part of the Garda Síochána nor of the Department of Justice and Equality.
Its members were appointed by the Government following an open selection process conducted by the Public Appointments Service.
It operates under a financial provision voted by the Dáil annually, for which the Chief Executive is accountable to the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee.
Who are the members of the Authority?
The legislation provides for a chairperson and 8 ordinary members of the Authority. Details of the members can be viewed in The Authority page.
How are Authority members appointed and what are is the term of their appointment?
The Chairperson and members of the Authority were selected for appointment by the Government following selection processes run by the Public Appointments Service. Under the legislation, Authority members are appointed for a term of either 3 or 4 years, and may be reappointed for a further term subject to a maximum of 8 years.
Do any former or currently serving members of the Garda Síochána serve as Authority members or work at the Policing Authority?
A person is not eligible to be recommended for or appointed as a member of the Authority if he or she is a serving member of the Garda Síochána or a member of Garda Staff. There are currently no former members of the Garda Síochána serving as an Authority member.
The Policing Authority is supported by civil servants appointed primarily through the Public Appointments Service. No current or former members of the Garda Síochána are staff members of the Authority.
What is the difference between the Policing Authority, the Garda Inspectorate and GSOC?
The Policing Authority oversees the performance of the Garda Síochána at an organisational level. Its key objective is to promote trust and confidence in policing and to help shape policing services for Ireland in the future.
The Garda Inspectorate ensures that the resources available to the Garda Síochána are used to achieve the highest levels of effectiveness and efficiency in its operations and administration.
GSOC deals with complaints made by members of the public concerning the conduct of members of the Garda Síochána.
Further details on the functions of each of these organisations is available in "Working together towards better policing for Ireland" the role of the Garda Inspectorate, GSOC and the Policing Authority (pdf).
What is the difference between the Policing Authority and GSOC?
The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) was set up in 2007 to provide efficient, fair and independent oversight of policing in Ireland. Its vision is to be a driver of ever-improving police accountability and its principal role is to deal with complaints about the conduct of members of the Garda Síochána. For further information visit GSOC’s website.
The Policing Authority does not deal with complaints against individual members of An Garda Síochána. Instead its role is to monitor the performance of the policing services provided by the Gardaí as a whole, particularly in terms of ensuring that the resources invested are used to provide an effective, efficient police service. This of course includes a role in monitoring complaints received with a view to identifying trends and addressing issues of concern.
What is the difference between the Policing Authority and the Garda Inspectorate?
The Garda Síochána Inspectorate was established in 2006 as an independent statutory body with the objective of ensuring that the resources available to the Garda Síochána are used to achieve and maintain the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness in its operation and administration, as measured by reference to the best standards of comparable police services. It carries out its functions by undertaking inspections in relation to any particular aspects of the operation and administration of the Garda Síochána, as requested to do so by the Minister and reporting on and providing advice to the Minister with regard to best policing practice as required. For further information visit Garda Síochána Inspectorate's website.
The Policing Authority does not have an inspection role. The Authority works closely with the Inspectorate in keeping itself informed. It can commission the Inspectorate to carry out an inspection or inquiry on a particular matter under S.117 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. As part of its oversight of the Garda Síochána, the Authority monitors and assesses the response of the Garda Síochána to recommendations made by the Inspectorate.
The Policing Authority, the Garda Inspectorate and GSOC together provide a range of functions which aim to provide a better policing service for the people of Ireland. The respective functions of the three agencies are outlined "Working together towards better policing for Ireland" the role of the Garda Inspectorate, GSOC and the Policing Authority (pdf).
Quality Customer Service
When might a member of the public wish to contact the Policing Authority?
The Policing Authority welcomes feedback and questions from members of the public on the following topics:
- Questions or comments on the Policing Authority’s work and events;
- General observations on the Garda Síochána; and
- Submissions on specific issues relating to policing in Ireland during public consultations which the Authority conducts from time to time. Details of any such public consultations will be made available on this website.
How can members of the public bring issues to the attention of the Policing Authority?
Please see our Contact Us page. Matters raised in correspondence received from members of the public are compiled into a monthly anonymised summary report which is provided to Authority members.
Can I make an appointment to discuss a matter with the Policing Authority?
No. The Policing Authority does not have a public office as its job is to oversee the work of the Garda Síochána in relation to the performance of policing services rather than to deal with individual issues.
Can the Policing Authority investigate a complaint about a member of the Garda Síochána?
The Authority does not have the statutory power to investigate complaints about specific incidents of Garda behaviour. Such investigations are the responsibility of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), which is the independent statutory body responsible for investigating allegations of Garda misconduct. For further information visit GSOC’s website.
I am dissatisfied with the outcome of a GSOC investigation. Can the Policing Authority reopen my case?
No. The Policing Authority has no role in appeals arising from GSOC investigations.
When the Garda Ombudsman finds a member of the Garda Síochána has acted inappropriately, does the Policing Authority have a role in the disciplinary process?
No. The Policing Authority has no role in the Garda disciplinary process.
Can members and staff of the Garda Síochána make a protected disclosure to the Policing Authority?
Under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, the Authority is not a prescribed recipient of protected disclosures for workers of the Garda Síochána.
Under the legislation, workers of the Garda Síochána, including garda members, may confidentially disclose allegations of wrongdoings within the Garda Síochána, either to their employer or to a member of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), as a prescribed person under section 7 of that Act.
The procedures for making a protected disclosure are set out in the Garda Síochána Policy for the making of Protected Disclosures.
- When are Authority meetings held?
Are meetings open to the public?
The legislation requires that the Authority must hold at least four meetings in public with the Garda Commissioner each year and the Authority strives to exceed this number when practical. In general, five meetings of the Authority with the Garda Commissioner are held in public each year. Members of the public and the press can attend these meetings and these meetings are live streamed and can be viewed on our YouTube channel by clicking the video link related to the meeting in Previous Meetings. Meetings held in private are not open to the public or press, but the minutes of private meetings are subsequently published on our website. A schedule of these meetings for the year ahead can be found in Upcoming meetings.
- Are there other ways to find out what happens in a meeting held in public?
Can members of the public ask questions at the meetings in public with the Garda Commissioner?
No. Members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings as observers but may not ask questions or participate in the meeting.
Can members of the public submit questions prior to the meetings in public to be put to the Garda Commissioner?
No. Members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings as observers but may not submit questions in advance or otherwise engage in these meetings with the Garda Commissioner.
What role does the Policing Authority have in the appointment of the Garda Commissioner?
Section 9 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended) provides that Government appoint the Commissioner on the nomination of the Policing Authority.
This process for appointment was first used in 2018. The Authority, with the prior written approval of government, invited the Public Appointments Service (PAS) to undertake a selection competition for the purpose of making the appointment. The requirements relating to knowledge, ability and suitability for appointment were agreed by the Authority and PAS with the Minister’s approval.
On 26 June 2018, the Minister for Justice announced that the Government appointed Mr. Drew Harris to the position of Garda Commissioner for a period of 5 years.
The Authority has a similar function with regard to the appointment of a person to the rank of Deputy Commissioner.
What role does the Policing Authority have in the appointment of Assistant Commissioners, Chief Superintendents and Superintendents?
Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended) and with effect from 1 January 2017, the Authority has responsibility for the appointment of persons to the ranks of Assistant Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent, having undertaken a selection competition for the purpose.
Competitions for these three ranks were undertaken in 2017 and a panel of candidates for appointment established for each rank. The Authority has appointed 5 Assistant Commissioners, 15 Chief Superintendents and 32 Superintendents from these panels.
In 2018, competitions for the rank of Chief Superintendent and Superintendent were undertaken and panels of candidates are in place for appointment as positions arise.
What role does the Policing Authority have in the appointment of Sergeants and Inspectors?
The Authority plays a very minor role in this area. Under the Garda Síochána (Promotion) (Amendment) Regulation 2016, the Authority may appoint suitably qualified persons to serve on promotion boards for selection competitions for appointment to the ranks of Sergeant and Inspectors.
What role does the Policing Authority have in the appointments of Garda Staff?
Senior Garda staff, at the grade of Principal Officer and above, are appointed by the Authority following appropriate civil service recruitment processes.
The Authority also has certain functions relating to the approval of numbers and grades of civilian staff recruited by the Garda Síochána under Section 19 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended):
- 19. (1) Subject to subsection (2A), the Garda Commissioner may appoint such numbers of persons as civilian staff of the Garda Síochána as may be approved by the Authority with the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance.
- (2) The Garda Commissioner shall determine the grades of civilian staff and the numbers in each grade in the categories of professional, administrative and specialist staff, as may be approved by the Authority with the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance.
I have information on a candidate for promotion to a senior rank in the Garda Síochána. Can I share this information with the Policing Authority?
The Authority does not consider unsolicited third party submissions on candidates for promotions or appointments in the Garda Síochána.
Where are the offices of the Authority?
The offices of the Policing Authority are at 90 North King Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7, D07 N7CV and can be contacted in writing at this address or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Freedom of Information
Can I get help in making a request?
Yes, if you require any help the staff in FOI Unit will be happy to assist you with your request. The Unit can also provide assistance to persons with a disability to exercise their rights under the FOI Act 2014 (e.g. by accepting oral requests from requesters' who are unable to read, print and/or write due to their disability; or enabling the requester to inspect or have records explained to him/her).
Can I get access to any information I seek?
You can ask for the following records held by The Policing Authority:
- any records relating to you personally, whenever created;
- all other records created after 21 April, 1998
You do not have to give a reason as to why you want access to particular records and the Policing Authority must give you an explanation if it refuses you access to any record that you have requested. There are also certain exemptions that may apply to the records you seek under the Act. This means that the record is protected and may not be released. If any of these exemptions apply to a record you have sought you will be informed.
Is there a charge for requesting information under the FOI Act 2014?
There is no up-front fee for making an FOI request.
There is no fee in respect of personal records, except where a large number of records are involved.
In the case of non-personal requests, charges will apply in respect of search and retrieval and any reproduction costs incurred by the Policing Authority in providing you with the material requested where the total cost exceeds €100. A rate of €20 per hour will be charged for the amount of time spent where this minimum threshold (equivalent to five free hours) is exceeded.
A maximum ceiling of €500 applies to such fees, but where the cost of search, retrieval and copying is greater than €700 the request will be refused unless the requester narrows the scope of the request.
List of Fees
- Search and retrieval: €20.00 per hour
- Copying charges: Photocopy per sheet: €0.04 / CD-ROM: €10.00 / Radiograph: €6.00
- Internal Review fee costs €30 (€10 for medical card holders)
- Appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner costs €50 (€15 for medical card holders)
Method of Payment
All payments to the Policing Authority should be made by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Please contact the FOI Unit for bank details.
How soon can a person making a request for records expect a reply?
Under the FOI Act 2014, a request for records must be acknowledged within 2 weeks and, in most cases, responded to within 4 weeks. A week in the FOI Act means 5 consecutive weekdays excluding Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. The time limit can be extended for a further three weeks in the event of necessary third party consultation.
What's the next step if I am unhappy with a decision on my request?
If you are unhappy with the Policing Authority’s response you can seek to have a decision re-examined by a more senior member of staff within the Authority. Please forward applications for review of a decision, together with a fee of €30.00 (or a reduced fee of €10.00 for medical card holders) to the FOI Unit.
Note: These fees apply only to non-personal requests.
If you are still unhappy with the decision, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Information Commissioner. Applications with appropriate fees (€50.00 or a reduced fee of €15.00 for medical card holders) should be forwarded directly to email@example.com or by post to the Office of the Information Commissioner, 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
Phone: (01) 639 5689
Contact Details when making a request
Freedom of Information Unit
The Policing Authority
90 King St. North
Tel: +353 (1) 858 9090
- Where can I get more information on FOI?