Friday 26 May 2017

Fine Gael TD: I have no confidence in the Garda Commissioner

Garda Superintendent Karl Franz Heller and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan during the Bloom Festival at the Phoenix Park, Dublin, yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Garda Superintendent Karl Franz Heller and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan during the Bloom Festival at the Phoenix Park, Dublin, yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Fine Gael TD for Waterford Michael D’Arcy

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

A Fine Gael TD has broken ranks with the party after he claimed he had no confidence in Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.

Wexford deputy Michael D'Arcy has said communities across the country, in particular Dublin's north inner city, are being "failed" by Ms O'Sullivan.

The Fine Gael backbencher said that Ms O'Sullivan has had almost two years at the top of the force and yet morale is in "crisis" and that communities are being "left behind".

He also hit out at her decision to appoint four new assistant commissioners just weeks before responsibility for such promotions switches to the new independent Policing Authority.

Mr D'Arcy also raised questions over the appointment of Ms O'Sullivan's husband, Jim McGowan, to the post of chief superintendent just weeks before the new authority took over such responsibility.

Mr McGowan was among dozens of gardaí who went through the official interview process.

The decision by Mr D'Arcy to express his lack of confidence in Commissioner O'Sullivan will cause concern within Fine Gael ranks.

Privately, other Fine Gael TDs say they too have reservations about the commissioner's performance. However, Mr D'Arcy is the first TD to go public.

There is also major disquiet within the party over how Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is handing the gangland crisis.

Mr D'Arcy issued the rebuke at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting.

He also claimed that the party and the Garda were failing what he described as the "underclasses".

Other TDs present say they disagreed wholeheartedly with the use of the term by Mr D'Arcy.

But the Wexford TD says the term applies to "people who have no hope that society will give them any leg-up or opportunity".

Mr D'Arcy also strongly attacked his party's treatment of families living in working class estates.

He said this was illustrated by the level of despondency within Dublin's north inner city in relation to the Government's response to the recent gangland murders.

"I am not prepared to abandon citizens and allow them to fall into social deprivation," Mr D'Arcy is said to have told the meeting.

He is also understood to have said that if there had not been seven recent gangland murders, the issue of social deprivation would not be being discussed by the party.

Carlow/Kilkenny TD Pat Deering, who is running for the position of chairman of the parliamentary party, told the meeting that there was a "north inner city" in every county in the country.

Mr Deering also said the issue of suicide among young people was becoming an "epidemic".

Irish Independent

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