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Findings of Justice Department report "serious and hard-hitting" - Fitzgerald

Minister Fitzgerald prepares to speak with the media

Minister Fitzgerald prepares to speak with the media

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald today published the Report of the Independent Review Group on the Department of Justice and Equality.

The top 5 issues that the Independent Review Group found are:

  • A closed, secretive and silo driven culture.
  • Significant leadership and management problems.
  • Ineffective management processes and structures to provide strong strategic oversight of  the key agencies both to hold them accountable and to ensure their effectiveness is  maximised.
  • A Management Advisory Committee (MAC) that is neither sufficiently focused on key  strategic priorities that impact on the Department and its key agencies nor ensuring that  emerging issues with agencies or with political consequence are identified and managed  proactively.
  • Relationships with key agencies tend to be informal and unstructured without strong  central management from the Department.

The key recommendations are:

  • A programme for fundamental and sustained organisational and cultural change and  renewal.
  • A change in the leadership and management routines, systems and practices to underpin  both the performance of the Department and key agencies.
  • An upfront commitment to additional skilled and specialised resources and training and  development programmes to lead and drive the change programme.
  • A change in the scope and approach of the MAC to provide better strategic management  and support.
  • A structured approach to how agencies and key relationships are managed to hold them  more accountable and drive better performance across the broader justice landscape

The Minister is committed to implementing a comprehensive ‘Programme of Change’ in the Department as outlined in the report’s recommendations.

Following consideration of the Report, Mr. Brian Purcell has offered, in the best interests of the Department, to be reassigned to other duties in the public service.

The Minister thanked Mr. Purcell for his contribution to the State including his service to the Department of Social Protection and his 23 years service in the Department of Justice and Equality, including as Director-General of the Irish Prison Service and most recently in his role as Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality.

The Minister thanked the Review Group for their time and effort in preparing the Report.

Minister Fitzgerald stated:

Given the significant recent disquiet over the administration and oversight of justice in this State, I believe this Report represents another important step in this Government’s justice reform programme. Ensuring an effective Department of Justice is essential to ensuring the full delivery of broader reforms to policing and justice in Ireland.

Minister Fitzgerald has described the key findings of the report as “serious and hard-hitting.”

Read the full report here.

Read the full press release here.


Listen back to the press conference here: