Government rejects call for Garda Commissioner to stand aside

Clare Daly says Nóirín O’Sullivan’s position is untenable and she should stand down

Richard Bruton: he said the Policing Authority had been very clear it would monitor the tribunal in terms of the commissioner’s capacity to continue to do her job. Photograph: Eric Luke

Richard Bruton: he said the Policing Authority had been very clear it would monitor the tribunal in terms of the commissioner’s capacity to continue to do her job. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The Government has again rejected a call for Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to stand aside until the Charleton tribunal completes its work. The tribunal, which is investigating matters involving senior Garda management, had its first public session last Monday.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton told the Dáil the Policing Authority had been very clear it would monitor the tribunal in terms of the commissioner’s capacity to continue to do her job.

“But it is also very clear the commissioner has not been found guilty of anything,’’ he said. “She has strenuously denied the allegations before the tribunal, and she will have an opportunity to deal with those.’’

Mr Bruton, who was taking Opposition Leaders’ Questions, was replying to Independent TD Clare Daly, who said the commissioner’s position was completely untenable, and she should be asked to stand down.

Ms Daly asked how the commissioner could continue to influence major decisions relating to An Gárda Síochána while under serious investigation.

She said Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald was no doubt highly impressed by the speed and efficiency with which Mr Justice Charleton commenced the tribunal proceedings. “She probably hoped this would allow her to put the Garda controversies behind her but, sadly, that was not the case because the disclosures by whistleblowers are only one aspect of the serious questions regarding An Garda Síochána. ’’

Ms Daly said there were five other pending statutory inquiries into Garda negligence and malpractice.

Inquiries

Ms Daly said the authority had been handpicked by government, and the authority was structured in a manner that would ensure it was subservient to government.

She said the commissioner had nominated herself to be on the selection board for assistant commissioner positions, and nobody on the Policing Authority or in Government had any problem with that.The position had suddenly changed this week, and it was revealed the commissioner would no longer be on the board because she was a bit busy.

An absolute joke

She said the Government should move immediately to bring in the legislative reform necessary for proper democratic oversight and accountability of An Garda Síochána.

Mr Bruton said an inquiry was in place which was looking at the most serious issues involving Garda management. “Mr Justice Charleton has been very clear that this inquiry is not about taking sides, rather it is about getting to the truth.’’

He said when the judge’s work was completed, he would make recommendations based on what was drawn from those specific disclosures. “That is as it should be. Let the cards fall where they may when that work is done.’’