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Friday 28 April 2017

Under siege: Commissioner is called on to step down in the Dáil

Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan faces fresh calls to stand down following the latest controversy
Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan faces fresh calls to stand down following the latest controversy

Kevin Doyle and Niall O'Connor

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's position is coming under siege as an independent probe was ordered into the fake breath tests and penalty points scandals.

The Dáil heard repeated calls for Ms O'Sullivan to step down following the latest controversies to hit the force.

Now it has emerged the Policing Authority gave the Commissioner a deadline of Friday to provide it with all documentation on the fixed-charge notice and breath-test scandals.

A major stand-off erupted at Cabinet over whether the embattled Commissioner should be asked to step down, the Irish Independent can reveal.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan and several other Fine Gael ministers warned the latest controversies were sapping public confidence in the force.

Ministers directly challenged Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald on the controversies, demanding to know: "What's next?"

At one point at the "emotional" meeting, Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor raised the prospect of a "straw poll" of ministers to determine the level of confidence in Ms O'Sullivan.

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys also voiced serious concern about the garda scandal. No such poll was held, but a Cabinet source said: "The level of anger and hostility towards the gardaí was palpable."

Significantly, ministers believe the Cabinet's support in Ms O'Sullivan could end if she fails to allay concerns at her Oireachtas Justice committee appearance tomorrow.

The Fennelly Commission into the taping of phone calls at garda stations is also due.

Meanwhile, Ms Fitzgerald has admitted a large bill compensating people who were wrongly brought to court is likely to be footed by taxpayers.

Irish Independent

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