Major blow to Garda as Assistant Commissioner resigns
Published 20/08/2016 | 02:30
Senior Garda officer Derek Byrne is resigning from the force in a major blow to the organisation.
The Assistant Commissioner was the architect of an overhaul of the specialist units fighting organised crime.
His departure will be a major loss to the gardaí, as he is one of its most experienced officers and has been involved in a lengthy series of criminal investigations over three decades.
And his decision will be particular body blow to the Garda's senior management team, as he has been an assistant commissioner for the past eight years.
It will create a gap in experience in the senior management team and will mean that more than half of the current assistant commissioners have been appointed within recent months. He will leave An Garda Síochána later in the year to take up the prestigious post of commissioner of police in the Cayman Islands.
Mr Byrne was offered the post after a six-month recruitment process and he notified Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan yesterday of his intention to resign.
Mr Byrne had previously been short-listed for the position of chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and also for executive director of Interpol.
He told the Irish Independent last night that the Policing Authority had a very important job to carry out in selecting leaders for the future and said succession planning was a key task to complete.
Mr Byrne had been examining his options for the past two years, but put any move on hold until the completion of the Anglo Irish Bank inquiry, where he had been senior investigating officer since 2009.
Separately, the outcome of the O'Higgins inquiry cleared him of any suggestion of wrongdoing and described him as an officer of the highest integrity.
Under his leadership, sweeping changes in the specialist units saw the merging of the drugs bureau and the organised crime unit, the creation of economic crime and cyber crime units and the setting up of the national protection services bureau.
Since early this year, he has also been closely involved in the investigation into the Kinahan-Hutch feud. He was also in charge of the highly successful anti-burglary initiatives Operations Thor and Fiacla.
The governor of the Cayman Islands, Helen Kilpatrick, said she looked forward to Mr Byrne's experience and expertise making a positive impact on the policing role there.