Salary of €250,000 proposed for new Garda commissioner

Post dogged by controversy will be advertised internationally, and pay could be increased

Former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. The current commissioner’s salary is €180,613. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan is keen to begin recruiting for the vacant role. Photograph: Alan Betson

Former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. The current commissioner’s salary is €180,613. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan is keen to begin recruiting for the vacant role. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The next Garda commissioner would be entitled to a salary of €250,000 under a proposal expected to be agreed by the Government today.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan is to bring a memo to this morning’s Cabinet meeting seeking approval to initiate a recruitment process for the role, including an increased pay packet.

Negotiations were still under way on Monday night between the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of the Taoiseach on the final details for the job specification.

However, The Irish Times understands the role will be advertised internationally at a salary of €250,000, up from the current salary of €180,613. It had been speculated that the salary could be increased to €350,000.

The Policing Authority was tasked with conducting an international examination and preparing a job specification for the Department of Justice.

The authority recently made a recommendation to increase the salary to mirror that of other police forces. The chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland is paid €219,521 while the chief constable of London’s Metropolitan Police Service receives total remuneration of some €300,000.

The authority agreed a figure of €250,000 but Government figures are thought to be willing to review the salary again if pay is a barrier to attracting candidates. The competition will be run by the Policing Authority, which will make a recommendation to Government for acceptance or rejection. The process is expected to take up to six months to complete.

Whistleblowers

Former commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan retired as commissioner last September following a series of controversies in the force. Her predecessor Martin Callinan also resigned under pressure over his handling of allegations about the Garda made by whistleblowers.

Mr Callinan stepped down in March 2014, at which point Ms O’Sullivan became acting commissioner. After an open international competition and parallel international headhunt she emerged as the successful candidate.

She was appointed to the post proper in November 2014, but the controversies that had dogged Mr Callinan’s term worsened under Ms O’Sullivan.

The role is currently occupied by Dónall Ó Cualáin in an acting capacity.

There have been some calls for the recruitment process to be postponed until the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland reports.

The commission, chaired by Kathleen O’Toole, is examining the future structure of An Garda Síochána and is due to report in September next year.

Ms O’Toole had contacted the Minister for Justice urging Mr Flanagan to wait, but he has insisted there should be no delay in making the appointment.