Tuesday 20 March 2018

No new commissioner until next year, says Fitzgerald

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and (inset) Brian Purcell
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and (inset) Brian Purcell
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

GARDAI may have to wait until the new year before a new commissioner for the force is officially appointed.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald indicated yesterday that members of the new independent Garda authority could be involved in the appointment.

But the authority is not expected to be in place until the end of the year. The Minister confirmed that the search for a new commissioner would begin next month and would be advertised internationally.

She said she would like to see a crossover when filling both roles and that could be possible with the involvement of authority members in the appointment of the commissioner. She again refused to express confidence in her Secretary General, Brian Purcell, pictured. The Minister, who has been working with Mr Purcell for the past six weeks, is still unwilling to give him her backing. She said that she was awaiting the results of an internal review of the Justice Department before expressing her support.

"I am working every day with Brian Purcell as Secretary General of the Department and I await the outcome of the review which I think will be very interesting going forward," she said.

Mr Purcell has been embroiled in controversy since it emerged that he visited former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan at his home on the night before he resigned.

Acting Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said that the establishment of the independent Garda authority was a progressive step to openness.


"I commit to seeking the best possible relationship with the new independent police authority that will hold us to account for the delivery of a human rights based policing service," said Ms O'Sullivan.

Speaking yesterday at a seminar on justice reform, she also said that the organisation had to be willing to adapt to change in an ever-evolving criminal landscape.

"I'm pushing for massive change – not all of which will be welcomed within the organisation, inevitably – and I'm pushing for continuity, too," she said.

Irish Independent

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