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Tuesday 23 January 2018

Now Garda chief faces watchdog probe over emails

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan. Photo: Arthur Carron
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan. Photo: Arthur Carron
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

The Garda watchdog may be asked to formally investigate Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's use of a Gmail account to send official Garda correspondence, the Irish Independent understands.

The move is one of a number of options due to be considered by Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald following her receipt of an official report by Commissioner O'Sullivan on the use of the commercial email service.

Other options include the issuing of new policy guidelines which categorically state that no senior officer should use a personal email account for official Garda business.

As revealed by the Irish Independent this week, gardaí are trawling through six years of Ms O'Sullivan's emails in a bid to ensure her private account has not been hacked.

Such a process could take several days and involve thousands of emails being monitored.

Read more: Gardaí trawl six years of Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's email account in hacking scare

Senior political and security sources have criticised Commissioner O'Sullivan as being careless and reckless for using the Gmail account.

However, Ms Fitzgerald - in consultation with the Policing Authority - will decide whether the issue should be examined by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

As the controversy over the Gmail account continues, the Commissioner will appear in front of the Policing Authority at Griffith College in Dublin.

Sources say she is likely to be asked about the Gmail issue during private session.

However, given that she has already released two public statements on the matter and pledged to produce a report for the Tánaiste, Commissioner O'Sullivan is unlikely to say anything further.

The meeting itself is due to formally consider the findings of the O'Higgins Commission, which was set up to examine allegations by Sergeant Maurice McCabe of Garda malpractice in the Cavan-Monaghan division.

It is also expected that the controversy surrounding the filling of Garda vacancies will be brought up.

After political pressure, the Government agreed to fill a number of senior positions - with the remainder due to be filled in the new year.

Irish Independent

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