Saturday 21 April 2018

O'Sullivan safe in short term - ironically due to tribunal

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan Photo: Gerry Mooney
Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan Photo: Gerry Mooney
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has set an initial three-month deadline for an investigation to establish the "who, why and where" behind the two road policing scandals that were revealed last week.

She pledged that within that timeline the investigation team, headed by newly appointed assistant commissioner, Michael O'Sullivan, would produce a substantial body of results and be in a position to issue significant recommendations.

This investigation is at the centre of what she outlined to a media briefing at Garda headquarters yesterday as a radical restructuring of roads policing and part of a cultural reform to address the major problems arising from last week's revelations.

The Commissioner was criticised over the weekend for not attending the first media briefing last Thursday. But at the time she was attending a private meeting with the Policing Authority.

She made a second attempt to tackle the fallout from the controversies with a press statement issued on Saturday.

But yesterday she fronted a press conference in which she declared that if the figures had been deliberately distorted or the records falsified, appropriate action would be taken - including criminal proceedings if necessary.

The Garda authorities have decided that the traffic corps will no longer be the Cinderella unit of the force, losing its personnel regularly when shortages occur elsewhere. The strength of the corps was meant to rise to 1,200 but stopped after it reached 1,100 during the recession and has fallen since to slightly over 680.

However, it is planned to increase the numbers to 750 by the end of this year and by 10pc each year after that.

The measures outlined by Ms O'Sullivan and her management team will not satisfy her critics, who have been baying for her head, particularly the politicians who want instant answers, as always, to their questions.

But it was never on the cards that she would be forced out because of these issues - as the main political parties want to maintain some stability in the lead-up to the Charleton tribunal. It is ironic that the Charleton tribunal, which will determine her longer-term future with its inquiries into the handling of whistleblowers, has now become a primary factor in ensuring her survival.

Irish Independent

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