Commissioner job will be 'open to military officers'
SENIOR military officers are expected to be eligible to apply for the post of Garda Commissioner when it is advertised through open competition for the first time.
Cabinet ministers are known to have differing views on whether the position should be given to an outsider or an internal candidate.
This has prompted concerns that if an outsider, particularly somebody from outside the State, is appointed to the job, it may be necessary to break up the garda organisation.
An Garda Siochana is not only in charge of providing a policing service but it is also the agency responsible for security and intelligence affairs.
It is believed that if an outsider is appointed, the Government will be likely to hive off the security and intelligence section and create another agency.
However, that problem might not arise if an officer from the Defence Forces successfully applied for the force.
The two leading candidates from the Defence Forces are Major General Mark Mellett and Major General Ralph James. However, their main focus may be on the top position within the Defence Forces with the Chief of Staff Lieut General Conor O'Boyle due to retire in September next year.
The main internal garda candidate is Noirin O'Sullivan, the interim commissioner.
One of the outsiders whose name has featured in speculation is Cressida Dick, Britain's top counter terrorism officer.
The Department of Justice said last night that the eligibility criteria for the post would be finalised as part of the preparation for the open competition.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the competition would be organised by the Public Appointments Service.