Wednesday 21 March 2018

Calls for Government to fill 'major gaps' in garda force

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Sinn Féin has joined the chorus of political calls on the Government to immediately fill the major gaps in the senior ranks of the Garda force.

A big political row has erupted over the Government's failure to sanction the names of seventeen officers, who were successful in a promotion competition earlier this year.

The vacancies are for two assistant commissioners, eight chiefs and seven superintendents.

Their names were placed on official lists, which are due to expire by the end of next month.

But by then a new system is being put in place, handing over responsibility for senior promotions to the Policing Authority.

This means that unless the Cabinet approves the promotions within the next few weeks, those officers on the list will have to undergo a new selection process in the new year.

Several of the successful candidates have already sought legal advice and are threatening action against the Government if their promotions are not implemented.

The officers are being supported by their representative associations, who say they should be promoted immediately.

Tanaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has made it clear that she intends to sign regulations allowing the Policing Authority to take charge by December 31.

But there has been no transitional planning for the handover and this has resulted in the present debacle as the number of vacancies in the top management continues to grow towards crisis levels with many officers "doubling up".

Today Sinn Féin joined Fianna Fail and Labour in demanding that the government move immediately on the promotions.

Sinn Féin said it supported giving responsibility for promotions to the Policing Authority but, in the meantime, the Government should act to fill the vacancies.

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