Saturday 21 July 2018

Senior garda posts won't be filled for next two months

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan

Paul Williams

The posts of two new deputy garda commissioners will remain vacant until October pending the outcome of a High Court action challenging the selection process.

In April, Assistant Commissioner Fintan Fanning was granted an injunction preventing the Public Appointments Service filling the positions after he was an unsuccessful candidate.

Mr Fanning claimed that the competition for the posts had been "very unfair" and he had been asked inappropriate questions during his interview by Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan.

In the meantime, the positions are being filled on an interim basis by assistant commissioners John Twomey and Donal O'Cualain.

One of the posts has been empty for over two years while the other, head of garda operations, was left vacant when Ms O'Sullivan took on the role of Commissioner after Martin Callinan's resignation.

Following the interview process in April, the names of the two acting officers, along with a third, Kieran Kenny, were shortlisted for the posts.

In June, the High Court heard claims by Mr Fanning that Commissioner O'Sullivan had asked for his views on "left-wing political extremism in Ireland" and on left-wing politicians.

In responding affidavits, two members of the interview panel said Mr Fanning was not asked about his personal views on left-wing politics.

Ms O'Sullivan has also denied any conflict of interest in the process.

The courts broke for the summer vacation on Friday and the High Court is now unlikely to deliver its decision until at least late September or the beginning of October.

Sources said the continuing uncertainty in filling the top posts is a having a detrimental effect on running the force.

Irish Independent

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