Who are the key players in Templemore saga?
The people and the issues behind the Garda controversy
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan: “I felt at the time that we did not have sufficient information.” Photograph; Dara Mac Donaill
Name: Nóirín O’Sullivan
Role: Garda Commissioner
“As accounting officer, I take my statutory responsibility for how An Garda Síochána spends taxpayers’ money very seriously. It is vital that it is spent efficiently and effectively in the best interests of the people, the State and An Garda Síochána.
“That is why on receipt of the draft interim report in September 2016, the Garda Executive immediately accepted its findings and commenced implementation of its recommendations.”
On why she did not inform the Minister for Justice when she first became aware of issues at Templemore: “I felt at the time that we did not have sufficient information. We put together an immediate group, comprising representatives of the Department of Justice and Equality, to get to the bottom of the matter.”
Name: John Barrett
Role: Garda head of human resources
Barrett informed O’Sullivan of the issues at Templemore in July 2015.
“That I have to say was something I had never envisaged: that arrangements so repugnant to the Blue Book [the internal Garda manual of staff duties] were, in effect, allowed to continue and – as I said in my report – in plain view.
“The circumstances under which co-operation was not forthcoming is a reality. This was an uphill push. I couldn’t understand why, quite frankly, and the fact that the matters remained in existence in the period since 2008, I think, speaks for itself.”
Name: Niall Kelly:
Role: Garda head of internal audit
Kelly is the author of the interim report into the financial irregularities at Templemore.
“I was asking questions in 2008 and 2009 but I was not getting answers. In March 2011, in relation to the 2010 accounts, I got assurances that issues were being addressed. What happened in 2011 was that effectively the college closed and there was very little activity. Between 2011 and 2014, if I had gone to audit I probably would not have found anything because effectively we were doing nothing. In 2014-2015 these issues started arising again. In 2016, we were brought in to do the audit.
“There was a different culture at that stage. There was a culture of circling the wagons and I got caught trying to bang into the wagons.”
Name: Michael Culhane
Role: Garda director of finance
Culhane has been in his role since the early 2000s. He is accused of trying to shield the mismanagement from the internal audit unit.
“I don’t see, I don’t see myself as being part of the problem. I think I see myself as being part of the solution because of the actions that I have taken on the issues identified in the 2008 report. I had no desire to undermine the professionalism of these two gentlemen. Niall Kelly is an independent auditor and he produces his reports without any, in terms of, without any need for any reference to me. So, I don’t see that I’d be interfering with his independence.”
Name: Ken Ruane
Role: Garda head of legal affairs
Ruane advised Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to inform the Minister for Justice of issues at Templemore in July 2015. She did not do so.
“In terms of distinguishing what advice I gave as opposed to how I felt at the time, I certainly felt it was a significant and serious issue. If I can put it that way.”