Rank and file back acting chief '100pc'
INTERIM Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan (inset) should be permanently appointed to the post, the leader of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) insisted.
John Parker, president of the GRA, said Ms O'Sullivan had "100pc" support from its 10,500 rank and file members.
He said she made her way up through the ranks to her current level on merit and she knew the job "from the ground up".
Mr Parker said the appointment of the first female commissioner would be a ground-breaking step.
"If the organisation is going to change, it should change from within," he argued.
For the first time the position is being advertised and opened up to external candidates.
Mr Parker said that while it was still early days, he believed the force would rally behind Ms O'Sullivan.
Speaking at the GRA conference, Mr Parker said: "I would hate that there would be an inequality, that something would be balanced against a person because they were internal."
Mr Parker described former commissioner Martin Callinan as experiencing a difficult few months before stepping aside. But he said the former chief's record was one of distinction and he would have been treated with respect by the conference if he had still been in office.
He also defended the decision not to invite Justice Minister Alan Shatter to the conference for the second year running and said their relationship was in the same "zone" as last year – but he believed that a good working relationship was possible.
He also welcomed the move towards setting up an independent police authority, but said such a body should act as an oversight agency and the day-to-day running of the force should be left in the hands of the commissioner.