Friday 14 December 2018

O'Sullivan's replacement to be found by summer, Dáil is told

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Justin Farrelly.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Justin Farrelly.
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has set out the timeframe for recruiting a new Garda commissioner which should see Nóirín O'Sullivan's successor in place by the summer.

Mr Flanagan said the selection process would take six months and that this was likely to begin within weeks.

He said he had agreed with the Policing Authority that it was "crucial" a considered recruitment process take place and that an "overly long delay in the appointment of the new commissioner would not be optimal for the organisation in terms of performance and morale".

He was responding to questions from Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire.

He raised concern that the chairperson of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland had previously contacted Mr Flanagan raising questions drawing up a job description for the next commissioner's role ahead of the completion of its report in September 2018.

Mr Ó Laoghaire said he believed it would be an "error" to proceed with the appointment before its work was finished.

Mr Flanagan said the process had "moved on somewhat" and the Policing Authority had submitted its assessment of the package required to attract candidates of the "desired calibre".

"I believe any inordinate delay would not be in the best interests of the police service," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Ó Laoghaire also raised the issue of emails relating to Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe that were at the heart of the storm that led to the resignation of Frances Fitzgerald as tánaiste.

He said he still didn't find it credible that 2015 emails relating to the legal strategy by Garda management against Sgt McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission had not been found and provided to the Disclosures Tribunal earlier.

He said it was "extraordinary" that it was four days before Mr Flanagan was told by justice officials about the first email found last month.

Mr Flanagan said he met with his department's management board last week and new protocols were agreed to bring matters to his "direct attention" in a timely way.

Read more: Justice in crisis: Secretary General announces immediate retirement as Minister Charlie Flanagan apologises to Dail

Read more: Justice officials didn't alert Tánaiste to McCabe email for an entire week 

Irish Independent

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