Saturday 10 December 2016

Garda Commissioner holds ground in mutually suspicious encounter

Published 25/11/2016 | 02:30

Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan pictured with Joe Nugent, Chief Administration Officer An Garda Síochána at a public meeting at Griffith College, Dublin. Photo: Collins
Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan pictured with Joe Nugent, Chief Administration Officer An Garda Síochána at a public meeting at Griffith College, Dublin. Photo: Collins

It was the Baked Alaska of public encounters - a toasty, sugary surface belying the icy solid within.

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There had been an agenda, Josephine Feehily said rather delicately - but unfortunately the new email revelations would have to be accommodated.

Nóirín O'Sullivan was ready and waiting for her with a statement.

The setting for the Garda Commissioner's public meeting with the Policing Authority at Griffith College was undeniably friendlier looking on the outside than the previous stiff encounter amid the austere surrounds of King's Inns.

But it was window-dressing. The atmosphere between the two parties remains ever mutually suspicious, not helped by the topics under discussion - those emails, along with the authority's concerns over the lack of prosecutions in this country over human trafficking charges and prostitution as well as the 'pace' of the identification of Garda posts which might be suitable for civilians.

The Garda delegation seemed uncertain that they would meet the Tánaiste's December deadline for this.

But they attempted to breezily allay fears over Ms O'Sullivan's emails.

Not a problem according to Joe Nugent, the civilian chief administrative officer with An Garda Síochána - only non-sensitive material was dispatched and having looked at "hundreds" of emails in the Commissioner's account he was satisfied there was no security issue.

He pointed out that so secure was the Garda's own system that even an email sent from the Policing Authority was initially quarantined.

After attempting to find out as much as they could, Ms Feehily was forced to lay it to rest - only to come back to it at the very end.

She wants to know the scale of the Gmail usage and the risks and she wants it in the report. Nóirín's smile was chilly.

Irish Independent

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