Tánaiste left in the dark about five key Garda roles
Published 18/11/2016 | 02:30
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has admitted she did not know of five key vacancies in the Garda force until yesterday morning.
Until then, she said, she was aware of only three critical posts that needed to be filled.
After arriving at An Garda Síochána College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, for a passing out parade, the Justice Minister said she had only just learned of an extra five posts.
Minutes earlier, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan had called on the Government to promote a new assistant commissioner, two chiefs and five superintendents, making a total of eight officers to be upgraded.
Ms O'Sullivan told reporters she had outlined her view about filling critical vacancies at a meeting of the Policing Authority last June, and that remained her position.
But Ms Fitzgerald said she had not been informed of the extra five prior to yesterday, and would now meet the commissioner to consider those promotions as well as consulting with her officials.
It is expected that the eight, who comprise almost half of the 17 senior Garda officers who had been left in limbo on a promotion list due to expire shortly, will be upgraded by the end of the year.
Although Ms Fitzgerald did not confirm she would send the eight names before the Cabinet for approval, this now looks likely and will avert a crisis over the growing number of vacancies in key posts.
However, her comments about the "unknown" five posts will add to the confusion surrounding the promotion lists over the past few weeks.
The controversy has remained largely an internal issue until this week, when media coverage led to questions in the Dáil.
Ms O'Sullivan said yesterday the eight positions should be filled now to meet critical needs in the senior management structure.
However, the plight of four other officers, who could gain knock-on promotion as a result of the first eight, is not yet clear.