Thursday 14 December 2017

My management team has suffered in efforts to reform force - O'Sullivan

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan . Photo: Tom Burke
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan . Photo: Tom Burke
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Embattled Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan claims her management team has "suffered" from its efforts to reform the force.

And she also rejected any suggestion that as the first woman to hold her job she may lack "clout".

Ms O'Sullivan has been dealing with a series of controversies since she took over as Garda Commissioner in 2014.

She said the focus of her team had been identifying what needed to be fixed in the force, to "shine a light" on things that weren't up to standard, and to deal with them.

"We've suffered quite a lot from that," she added, saying that "fingers have been pointed" about how the issues they uncovered "happened on our watch".

She said there had been a "multitude of examples" of this.

Ms O'Sullivan said it took courage and "very strong leadership to actually say 'we're going to look internally in our own organisation. We are going to identify issues that need to be fixed'."

Earlier Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald asked her what authority and "clout" she carried in the force. Ms McDonald said "I'm conscious that you're the first woman in the job" and said she did not know how that was received in the organisation.

Ms O'Sullivan explained the management structure of the €1.5bn organisation involving 16,000 people and how certain roles are delegated.

She later said: "Throughout the 36 years of my career... I've never chosen to allow my gender to be a barrier to anything that I do and I've never defined myself by my gender. I'm a professional police officer and I'm very proud of that fact."

She said she was sure Ms McDonald would understand the comments as the female "deputy leader of a growing party".

During her Public Accounts Committee appearance Ms O'Sullivan stood by her insistence at a previous committee meeting that she first became aware of the issues about finances at Templemore Training College on July 27, 2015. This account was contradicted by some senior Garda officials at other PAC meetings.

Irish Independent

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