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Monday 26 February 2018

Senior gardaí tip O'Toole as favourite to become next commissioner

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Niall O'Connor and Cathal McMahon

A power struggle has broken out between the Government and Garda management over who should replace Nóirín O'Sullivan as Garda commissioner and how best to reform the force.

Senior Garda officers are convinced the Department of Justice has selected Kathleen O'Toole as its early favourite.

Sources within Garda headquarters also believe the Government will resist efforts to separate the intelligence services from policing, which many senior gardaí believe is essential as part of the wider reform of An Garda Síochána.

Ms O'Toole, who heads up the Commission into the Future of Policing, has also expressed caution about splitting the two.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan yesterday told the Cabinet he is not ruling out hiring an outsider for the role.

"It's about expertise and suitability. The Policing Authority will have a broad and wide remit. The Government will not attempt to narrow or restrict," a well-placed source told the Irish Independent.

Favourite

Meanwhile, the former commissioner of Britain's largest police force has emerged as the new bookies' favourite.

Bernard Hogan-Howe stepped down as commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police earlier this year after a tumultuous period in charge.

Bookmakers Paddy Power said yesterday Mr Hogan-Howe stood at 25/1 in the betting. Those odds dramatically shortened to 2/1 by the evening.

A photo showing a betting slip with Mr Hogan-Howe's name was shared among a number of WhatsApp groups yesterday. Asked if this may have affected the betting, a company spokesman said: "It's not a huge market so a couple of dozen bets would definitely lead to a big shift."

Irish Independent

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