Monday 20 November 2017

O'Sullivan pulled out of conference in Bali after backlash

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

Niall O'Connor

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan pulled out of a major policing conference in Bali - just days after her attendance at a separate event in California sparked major controversy.

The Commissioner was widely criticised after she travelled to San Diego for a conference involving police chiefs while the Garda Representative Association (GRA) was threatening to go on strike.

The conference involved senior police officers and FBI agents giving presentations on issues ranging from drugs to gun crime. Commissioner O'Sullivan addressed the delegates.

She was accompanied by Chief Superintendent Michael O'Sullivan and her husband Chief Supt Jim McGowan. Head of the Garda Inspectorate Robert Olson also attended.

The entire delegation travelled in a professional capacity.

Several sources told the Irish Independent that the Commissioner should have sent an assistant or deputy commissioner to San Diego owing to the looming strike.

But it has now emerged that Commissioner O'Sullivan opted not to attend a major conference in Bali earlier this month that was organised by Interpol.

The event was attended by police chiefs and representatives from 167 countries.

The view within Garda headquarters is that the Commissioner decided against attending the event in Bali given the backlash following her decision to travel to San Diego when a strike was looming.

The Commissioner is now attempting to unite the force on the back of a damaging few months.

In a statement, a Garda spokesman said the force was represented by two senior officers in Bali.

"Detective Chief Superintendent Michael O'Sullivan (liaison & protection) and Detective Sergeant John McMonagle (Interpol) represented the force at the recent 85th Interpol general assembly in Bali," the statement said.

"The general assembly is Interpol's supreme governing body. It meets once a year and takes all the major decisions affecting general policy, the resources needed for international co-operation, working methods, finances and programmes of activities to tackle crime and security issues."

Despite two separate queries as to why Commissioner O'Sullivan chose not to attend the Bali conference, the Garda press office did not respond.

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