Appointment of new Garda Commissioner may take six months

Policing Authority has yet to advertise position to replace Nóirín O’Sullivan

Former commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan retired from the post earlier this month. Photograph: Collins Photos

Former commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan retired from the post earlier this month. Photograph: Collins Photos

 

The appointment of the next Garda Commissioner may take six months to complete, the Policing Authority has said.

Former commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan retired from the post earlier this month. The authority is responsible for finding Ms O’Sullivan’s replacement but has yet to advertise the position.

A spokeswoman told The Irish Times the authority is still in the research stage and is examining the potential criteria for the job specification.

It is in constant contact with the Department of Justice and the Public Appointments Service and hopes to be in a position to advertise the role in a matter of weeks.

The spokeswoman said this was a very significant position and the authority would not be rushing the process. She estimated it would take six months to conduct interviews and identify a suitable person for the role.

The authority also confirmed it will release its report in mid-October on the falsification of the number of drink-driving breath tests carried out by gardaí. The Garda has acknowledged the number of tests was greatly exaggerated.

The authority’s report was due to be completed this week but it has been delayed due to the recent publication of the Garda’s internal reports on the matter. The Garda findings will form part of the authority’s report.

Garda stations

Meanwhile, interim Garda commissioner Donal Ó Cualáin has confirmed he will be in a position to appear before the Dáil Public Accounts Committee this week. He has been invited to give evidence on the decision to reopen six Garda stations and the criteria involved in the decision-making.

In a letter to committee members last week, Mr Ó Cualáin said he was unable to provide a copy of a report on the reopenings, stating this was a matter for the Minister for Justice.

The Cabinet considered an interim report on the matter last July and Minister for Transport Shane Ross confirmed Stepaside was one of the stations that would be reopening. Mr Ó Cualáin said it was a matter for the Department of Justice to approve the release of the document.

“I recognise that the matter was discussed at a meeting of the committee in July this year and that I had indicated that the report could be provided.

“However, I should not have made that commitment as I did not have the authority to agree to the release of the department’s report. I want to apologise to the committee for the error on my part.”

However, Mr Ó Cualáin confirmed yesterday he will attend a meeting of the committee at 9am on Thursday but will only be available for 30 minutes. He is due to appear before the Policing Authority that afternoon.