Garda Commissioner declines to sign off several promotions

Drew Harris’s refusal to promote gardaí linked to their being subject of inquiries

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris: His refusal to sign off on certain promotions is evidence of his strict line on discipline and promotions. Photograph:  Tom Honan

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris: His refusal to sign off on certain promotions is evidence of his strict line on discipline and promotions. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has declined to sign off on a number of Garda promotions despite the gardaí involved securing advancement during an open recruitment competition.

The move to effectively ensure the successful candidates were passed over for promotion is unprecedented within the Garda.

They are gardaí who had been set for promotion to sergeant rank or sergeants set for promotion to inspector rank.

It follows a recent move by Mr Harris to reject the recommendation of an internal Garda board of inquiry to financially sanction a member of the force who appeared in a pornographic video.

Mr Harris has asked the member to explain why they should not be dismissed because of their conduct. He has also previously said any Garda member who did not sign the code of ethics would not be promoted.

Strict stance

His refusal to sign off on a number of promotions will be interpreted as further evidence Mr Harris is intent on taking a strict line on discipline and promotions.

The Irish Times understands Mr Harris was not willing to approve the promotions of at least six Garda personnel while inquiries they were the subject of inquiries that remained outstanding.

However, informed sources stressed no wrongdoing had been proven against any of the Garda members in question and that wrongdoing on their part was not the issue.

The sources explained the personnel may be completely exonerated, as is the case in many Garda Síochána Ombudsman investigations or internal disciplinary inquiries. However, Mr Harris was unwilling to sanction the promotions while inquiries were outstanding.

Conviction disclosure

Furthermore, sources said that in the future he would not sign off on the promotion of candidates who have convictions from the District Court, such as speeding, and who had failed to disclose those convictions.

In response to queries, Garda Headquarters said: “An Garda Síochána does not comment on individuals nor on promotion processes relating to individuals.

“It is Garda regulation that Garda members who are before the courts for an alleged offence must inform [human resources] of this. Failure to do so can be a disciplinary offence.”

The current list of candidates to be promoted remains active until the end of this year, after which personnel must apply again through the next recruitment competition.