Former US secret service man to take senior Garda Ombudsman job

Patrick Sullivan will become one of three ombudsman commissioners in GSoc

Former United States secret service agent Patrick Sullivan will bring a wealth of experience to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSoc), Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said.

Mr Sullivan has been appointed to a fill a vacancy as Ombudsman commissioner at the top of the Garda complaints body. GSoc is led by a three-person commission, one of whom is appointed chairperson.

Mark Toland, a former police officer in Britain, stepped down as one of the three commissioners last year to take up the lead position at the Garda Inspectorate.

Mr Sullivan now fills the vacancy created by Mr Toland's departure. He joins fellow Ombudsman commissioners Justice Mary Ellen Ring and Kieran Fitzgerald at the top of the agency. Justice Ring is also chair of GSoc.


Mr Sullivan has been appointed after winning an international competition run by the Public Appointments Service.

Most recently he oversaw criminal investigations by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Previously he had a senior role in the US Department of Homeland Security's air marshal service and was a special agent in the secret service for 23 years.

Mr Flanagan told the Dáil on Tuesday night that although the Oireachtas Committee on Justice had wanted Mr Sullivan to appear before now, work commitments in the US had prevented that. However, he would soon be available to the committee.

Mr Sullivan assumes his new post until December 2020, when Mr Toland’s term was due to expire.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times