Government appoints outgoing Revenue Commissioners chairman head of new independent policing authority

Outgoing head of revenue Josephine Feehily

Tom Brady

The outgoing chairman of the Revenue Commissioners has been appointed by the government to take charge of the new independent policing authority.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald announced this afternoon that Ms Josephine Feehily would “bring a wealth of experience and competences” to her new role.

She will be chairperson-designate until legislation establishing the authority has been fully enacted.

Ms Feehily as 41 years experience, working in large organisations at home and overseas.

The authority chairperson will now be actively involved in the selection of the new garda commissioner.

Candidates for that post have been whittled down to three, including the current acting commissioner, Noirin O’Sullivan.

It is expected that the successful candidate will be announced early next month.

Draft legislation setting up the new authority was published earlier this month by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

The authority, according to the minister, will:

Provide an additional layer of public oversight in policing

Create a new engine to drive reforms of the policing system

Hold garda management to account, including at public meetings

Develop a key role in the future appointment of senior garda management.

She described the creation of an independent authority as the most far reaching reform of An Garda Siochana since the foundation of the State and a major element of the comprehensive programme of justice reform being delivered by the government.

The eight other members of the authority will be appointed by the government following a selection competition, run by the Public Appointments Service, and with the approval of the Dail and Seanad.

The authority will sanction a three year strategy statement and annual plan, submitted by the commissioner, and will publish a code of ethics that includes standards of conduct and practice for gardai.

The legislation will enable the authority to request the Garda Ombudsman Commission to investigate concerns that a garda could have committed an offence or behaved in a manner justifying disciplinary action.

The authority will have oversight of the delivery of a proper policing service by the Garda, including the efficient deployment of resources, organisation, administration, personnel and finance.

But security issues will not come under its remit and responsibility for them will remain with the commissioner, who will report directly to the Justice Minister.