O’Sullivan urged to pull out of Garda commissioner race

Families claim An Garda Síochána failed to properly investigate killings

Acting Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan is being urged to withdraw her name from the competition. Photograph by Cyril Byrne

Acting Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan is being urged to withdraw her name from the competition. Photograph by Cyril Byrne

 

Garda whistleblower John Wilson and a new group, Families for Justice, have called on acting Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan to withdraw her candidacy for the commissioner post.

Mr Wilson and people who believe deaths involving members of their families were not properly investigated by An Garda Síochána were at Stormont yesterday urging support from Northern Ireland politicians.

The new commissioner is to be appointed next month but Mr Wilson and journalist Gemma O’Doherty, who has written extensively about the unresolved murder of Fr Niall Molloy in Co Offaly in 1985, joined members of the group in calling on Ms O’Sullivan to withdraw from the competition for the job of Garda commissioner.

Mr Wilson said it was not tenable that Ms O’Sullivan should be a candidate in the light of this week’s highly critical Garda Inspectorate report into the Garda. “She is part of the broken system that has got us to where we are today,” he said.

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“Who’d have ever thought 20 years ago that I’d envy the Police Service of Northern Ireland? I envy the professionalism, the transparency and the accountability of the PSNI. They have the support of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland,” said Mr Wilson.

The Families for Justice group met senior politicians from the DUP, Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the UUP and Alliance at Stormont yesterday.

The group’s members included Ann Doherty, sister of Mary Boyle who went missing aged six in Co Donegal in 1977; Anne and Eamonn Tuohey, the parents of Shane who died in Clara, Co Offaly in 2002, in what the family believe was suspicious circumstances; and Cyril Goonan, brother of Jim who was found dead at his home in Birr, Co Offaly in 2002, again in what his family believe are suspicious circumstances.

Gemma O’Doherty said the politicians agreed to use their influence to bring pressure on politicians in the South to have the concerns of the families addressed. “These families can’t get a hearing in Dáil Éireann but my goodness have they had one here at Stormont,” she said.

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Ms O’Doherty said the families had “suffered hugely at the hands of our criminal justice system”.

She said it was “very ironic” that they were taking their case to the North to try to get some movement in the South. Ms O’Doherty also called on Ms O’Sullivan to withdraw her candidacy for the commissioner job.