Minister ‘should clarify’ knowledge of O’Sullivan’s interest in Europol job

SF’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire says questions raised about her application for new role

The Government has been urged to outline if it was aware that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was in the running for a senior role with Europol. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Government has been urged to outline if it was aware that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was in the running for a senior role with Europol. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

The Government has been urged to outline if it was aware that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was in the running for a senior role in the European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol.

Ms O’Sullivan sought a senior position in the area of specialist operations in the force but her candidacy was unsuccessful.

Sinn Féin’s justice spokesman Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan should clarify whether or not he was aware of her application.

Mr Ó Laoghaire said he believed it was inappropriate for Ms O’Sullivan to seek another position while serving as head of An Garda Síochána.

“If ministers were aware of this or even encouraged it in anyway, questions have to be asked there,” he said. “If they believe she is the right person to lead An Garda Síochána why would they facilitate that possibility?

“If it was the case they knew, it would significantly undermine the Government’s repeated position that it has full confidence in Ms O’Sullivan.”

Declined to comment

A Department of Justice spokesman declined to comment on the matter claiming these were issued for Ms O’Sullivan the Garda Commissioner and Europol.

“The Department is not in a position to comment on the operation of recruitment competitions being run by Europol which does not fall under the remit of the department,” he said.

The commissioner has been under significant pressure to stand aside from her role after a series of Garda related controversies including inflated drink-driving breath test figures and the handling of allegations made by whistleblowers.

If she was successful in the process, Ms O’Sullivan would have been expected to leave her role in September to take up the position in November.

However, she informed Government figures in recent days she would not be taking up the role.

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan said an end to speculation surrounding the potential move was welcome. He said she must now deal with the real issues of governance facing the gardaí.