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Saturday 20 January 2018

Exit must not hinder reform, says Flanagan

Mr Flanagan will today brief his Cabinet colleagues for the first time about the timing of Ms O’Sullivan’s resignation, as well as her pension and gratuity payment. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Mr Flanagan will today brief his Cabinet colleagues for the first time about the timing of Ms O’Sullivan’s resignation, as well as her pension and gratuity payment. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Nóirín O'Sullivan's departure as Garda commissioner must not be allowed to impede the reform of the force, according to Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

Mr Flanagan will today brief his Cabinet colleagues for the first time about the timing of Ms O'Sullivan's resignation, as well as her pension and gratuity payment.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe personally signed off on Ms O'Sullivan's pension package.

Speaking yesterday, the minister confirmed he gave the green light for her seven months as 'acting commissioner' to be counted towards her pension.

As a result, Ms O'Sullivan is entitled to a tax-free lump sum of almost €300,000 and an annual pension worth more than €90,000.

Mr Donohoe said the arrangement was "entirely consistent" with existing policy.

"I was made aware at the very end of last week that official discussions had been taking place with the Department of Justice in relation to her potential retirement.

"I became aware that she had retired on Sunday and she had handed in her formal notification to Justice Minister Flanagan," he said.

At today's Cabinet meeting, Mr Flanagan will also detail his discussions with the Policing Authority about finding a replacement for Ms O'Sullivan and the ongoing work being carried out by the Commission on the Future of Policing, which is being headed up by Kathleen O'Toole.

It's now expected the commission will be asked to fast-track its work, which involves the consideration of whether the State's intelligence services should be separated from the force.

Government figures believe it could take several months for a new commissioner to be appointed.

While Donall Ó Cualáin is currently interim Garda Commissioner, there is a big push politically for an outsider to be appointed to succeed Ms O'Sullivan.

Policing Authority boss Josephine Feehily and Mark Toland, of the Garda watchdog GSOC, are being speculated as contenders.

Internally, Deputy Commissioner John Twomey and Assistant Commissioners Fintan Fanning and Barry O'Brien are being linked to the post.

Irish Independent

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