Templemore finances may be tip of the iceberg for Commissioner
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan faces more damaging revelations over the coming months after last Thursday's embarrassing revelation that a 'brief' meeting over financial irregularities at the Garda College lasted two-and-a-half hours.
Several issues have yet to be aired publicly, including the fact that the number of gardai doing purely desk work has ballooned to the point where nearly one-in-six gardai are engaged full-time in 'back office' jobs.
Gardai have also systematically failed properly to investigate serious crime including murders and rapes, and massive discrepancies in crime recording are expected to emerge as the Dail Committee and the new Policing Authority probe further into the force.
Commissioner O'Sullivan dismissed the financial problems in Templemore at a 'legacy issue' when the Sunday Independent broke the story in October last year.
Last Thursday she told the PAC she was having a cup of tea in a room in Templemore when it was mentioned there were problems with the college's finances. She described the meeting as 'brief' and it was the first time she knew of any concerns in relation to spending at the college, she said.
However, John Barrett, civilian head of human resources, then appeared to contradict her evidence. He said the meeting lasted for more than two hours. He produced notes which he said he had taken at the meeting, including the start and finish time of the meeting, as well as who was present, the issues discussed and the order in which people had walked into the room.
It also emerged that an apparent €100,000 was transferred from the college's accounts to the Garda Rowing Club on the Liffey at Chapelizod in Dublin.
Tensions between the 'uniform' management of the force and the new batch of senior civilian staff have been mounting for some time, particularly over the issue of replacing gardai with better qualified civilians.
The new breed of civilian managers are said to be appalled at the lack of supervision of gardai with many left to do work for which they are untrained or unsuited.