Irish government plans two investigations of Garda

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan is under pressure over revelations about the police force

The Irish government is planning two investigations into its police force, it announced on Tuesday.

The Garda (police) have been embroiled in a number of controversies recently.

On Tuesday, Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny announced an independent review of the force.

A second investigation will probe the wrongful convictions of almost 15,000 motorists, and apparent false data on breath tests.

Last week, it emerged that almost one million drink-driving tests recorded by police in the Republic of Ireland did not actually take place.

In addition, police have admitted a separate error that caused almost 15,000 wrongful traffic convictions.

Mr Kenny also said on Tuesday said the government continues to have confidence in Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.

Commissioner O'Sullivan was already facing questions over her leadership because of allegations of a smear campaign against a whistleblower, Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Sgt McCabe was one of two officers who raised concerns years ago about the alleged deletion of penalty points from the driving licences of well-connected offenders.

Image caption Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Speaking during Leaders' Questions in the Dail (parliament), Mr Kenny said of the independent review: "We continue to see a list of unacceptable revelations about the operation of An Garda Siochana.

"The government believes that the level of public concern is now so profound that it's now time to conduct a thorough, comprehensive and independent, root-and-branch review of An Garda Siochana."

Exact details of the independent review are to be outlined next week.

In the meantime, an external inquiry is being set up into the erroneous Garda statistics and prosecutions.

The Garda commissioner has been called before a parliamentary committee on Thursday over the affair and she is also due to meet the chairwoman of the Policing Authority, one of the force's watchdogs, over her handling of the scandal before the end of the week.

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