Garda chief O'Sullivan turned down for major EU police role
Under-fire Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has been turned down for a major job at the European Union's law-enforcement agency, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Ms O'Sullivan was told that her application for a senior post in the area of special operations at Europol had been deemed unsuccessful because she had failed to meet the relevant criteria, according to informed sources.
It is understood that Ms O'Sullivan was told that she had not served the required number of years in a top police job to be successful in her application.
"Her application was deemed not eligible," said a highly placed Government source, adding that the application itself had caused "surprise" within political circles.
It is believed that the role required at least 15 years of senior management experience, Ms O'Sullivan has not yet met this criterion.
The Commissioner is due back from a five-week holiday tomorrow, when she will face a myriad of questions surrounding the false breath test scandal and the Templemore 'slush fund'.
Ms O'Sullivan is also due to appear in front of the Charleton Tribunal, where she will be quizzed over her alleged role in a smear campaign against garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.
Sources within all levels of the force have expressed unease over her decision to take such a lengthy holiday, given the difficulties facing the force.
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However, other sources close to Ms O'Sullivan have insisted she is keen to come back from her break and is not concerned about her appearances in front of the Disclosures Tribunal.
The Irish Independent understands that the details of the Commissioner's application to Europol were made known to Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in recent days.
However, the Commissioner has not divulged the details to senior colleagues in Garda Headquarters. Confirmation that Ms O'Sullivan sought a move out of An Garda Síochána - and was rejected - will undoubtedly raise further questions over her position.
The news was discussed among senior gardaí last night, ahead of Ms O'Sullivan's return from her holidays in North America. Figures at senior level of Government were also briefed on developments.
The issue of Ms O'Sullivan's departure on a lengthy holiday caused widespread political disquiet, particularly because of the latest controversy involving fake breath tests.
It is understood that an internal garda audit will confirm that the breath tests were made up or that data was either recorded incorrectly or contained administrative errors.
The Garda Audit Committee's 2016 report states it has "concerns regarding data quality across the force", given the issues relating to the recording of breath tests.