Minister describes criticisms of Garda management as 'disturbing'
The pressure on embattled Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has ramped up as a minister of state described the Policing Authority's criticism of the management of the force as "quite disturbing".
Independent John Halligan said he is "deeply concerned" after the Authority expressed "unease" at Garda culture and management in the wake of the O'Higgins Report into allegations of malpractice in the force.
And he told the Irish Independent he was waiting to hear Ms O'Sullivan's response to questioning by TDs in the new justice committee before he would express confidence in her.
Ms O'Sullivan met with the Policing Authority, which is chaired by Josephine Feehily, on Thursday. Afterwards Ms Feehily said that "recurring deficiencies in policing performance" identified in the O'Higgins Report were "deeply troubling".
Mr Halligan said: "There must be dismay at present even within the gardaí at all of this, particularly when we have a terrible gang war taking place in Dublin."
He said the issues raised by the Policing Authority must be dealt with quickly and efficiently so "we can move on" and so "the people of the country can have absolute and total confidence in the police force".
A spokesman for Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the criticisms made by the Policing Authority made no difference to his confidence in Ms O'Sullivan.
"The Taoiseach has always had 100pc confidence in Commissioner O'Sullivan and continues to do so," he said.
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald also backed the commissioner. A spokesman said the authority was providing "oversight" and "if it was all compliments, people would fear it was a whitewash."
Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan said his party continued to have confidence in Ms O'Sullivan.