Garda commission boss: 'I'm known as a straight shooter who calls them as she seems them'
The police chief tasked with overseeing a ‘root and branch review’ of An Garda Síochána has denied that her appointment represents a conflict of interest.
Kathleen O’Toole, the current head of police in Seattle, was yesterday unveiled as the new chairperson of the 'Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland’.
But her appointment caused surprise within policing circles given that she was a member of the board that hired Nóirín O’Sullivan as Garda Commissioner.
Ms O’Toole told Independent.ie today that while she has “crossed paths” with Ms O’Sullivan on a number of occasions on a professional basis, she insisted she will remain completely impartial in her role.
“I was a member of the selection panel, but do not believe that presents a conflict,” Ms O’Toole said.
“I anticipate this will be a systemic review, not focused on particular individuals. I'll stand on my reputation as an objective, principled individual. In US lingo, I'm known as a straight shooter who calls them as she sees them,” she added.
Ms O’Toole’s appointment was approved by Cabinet yesterday. An Independent Alliance source told Independent.ie that Ms O’Toole’s membership of the panel that appointed Ms O’Sullivan as garda commissioner was not highlighted at Cabinet when the matter was discussed.
Ms O’Toole previously served on the Garda Inspectorate before taking up the post of Head of Police in Seattle.
In a statement, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said there is no question of a conflict of interest.