Tuesday 20 March 2018

Government 'kept in dark' over O'Sullivan's appointments

Tribunal: Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan Picture: Mark Condren
Tribunal: Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan Picture: Mark Condren
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

The appointment of two of Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's close associates to a powerful internal Garda unit took place without the prior knowledge of senior Government ministers.

Neither Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald or Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe were notified of plans to draft in retired assistant commissioner Mick O'Sullivan and former chief superintendent Brendan Mangan to assist the force during the upcoming Charleton Tribunal.

Judge Peter Charleton will today begin the process of examining submissions that have been made by potential witnesses to the inquiry, which will examine allegations of an alleged smear campaign by Garda management against Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

But there is now deep unease within the force over the make-up of the Garda unit that will communicate with Judge Charleton and the officers likely to give evidence.

As revealed by the Irish Independent last week, Mrs O'Sullivan decided to appoint the two retired gardaí to assist in running the unit, which is being led by Tony Howard, who has been leading the investigation into the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

It's understood officers and senior civilians in Garda headquarters have expressed their concern that the move has damaged the force's public image.

Read More: Commissioner places star witness in inquiry under investigation

There is also unrest within political circles after it emerged the positions were not advertised in advance.

Both men have years of experience within the force.

A spokeswoman for Mr Donohoe confirmed last night that his department received no request for funding for the posts. It's understood Ms Fitzgerald was also not made aware in advance. Ms Fitzgerald's spokesman said it would "not be appropriate" to comment as the inquiry is under way.

The two senior officers will work out of the HR section in Garda Headquarters.

An Garda Síochána would not comment on named individuals but said "procedures have been put in place to ensure An Garda Síochána provides the Disclosures Tribunal with information it requires from across the organisation on the relevant matters promptly".

Irish Independent

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