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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Commissioner strips civilians of powers

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has sparked further unrest within the force after transferring more powers away from senior civilians and into the control of her so-called 'inner circle'.

Concern has been expressed within Garda Headquarters after Ms O'Sullivan handed responsiblities surrounding discliplinary action to an Assistant Commissioner.

These powers were previoisly discharged by the Human Resources (HR) function within the force.

Sources see the move as part of the Commissioner's attempts to assert her authority over her officials.

But these particular functions have for years been under the control of the Garda's Internal Affairs unit, which has been headed up by a senior civilian.

As reported last week, Ms O'Sulivan has put in a new layer of management of senior assistant commissioners in a move that has diluted the influence of civilians.

These include Asst Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan of the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau; Asst Commissioner John O'Driscoll of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Asst Commissioner Corcoran of the Criminal Assets Bureau.

The decision to transfer more powers to the so-called "blue ring of steel" around the Commissoner's office raises further questions for Ms O'Sullivan.

The move contrasts greatly with recommendations contained in several reports that the force needs to be more civilianised.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has consistently said she wants to see a more civilianised force.

The Garda Press Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Irish Independent

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