Saturday 23 September 2017

How Cabinet subtly pushed O'Sullivan out of Garda HQ

It didn't need a late-night call to her home to convince the Commissioner to quit, writes Philip Ryan

Edged Out: O’Sullivan could sense that the writing was on the wall after the report on fake breathalyser statistics was published.
Edged Out: O’Sullivan could sense that the writing was on the wall after the report on fake breathalyser statistics was published.
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

On the face of it, the sudden retirement of Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan seems like another coup for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his government.

Her political capital had waned considerably in recent months and it was becoming increasingly difficult for Varadkar's new administration to back a Commissioner when so many garda indiscretions seemed to continue under her watch.

The bind was that they could not be seen to force her from her position by suggesting a lack of confidence, or talking her down while she was still in the job. The Attorney General's office had warned the Cabinet that should they do so, O'Sullivan would have grounds for an unfair-dismissal case, which could have resulted in a messy High Court action and a substantial payout.

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