Friday 23 February 2018

Will Noirin O'Sullivan be the first female Garda Commissioner?

Noirin O'Sullivan is to take over from Martin Callinan as ‘Acting Commissioner’, and she is the early favourite to take up the reins as Garda Commissioner in the longer-term. Her background in the groundbreaking ‘Mockies’ unit on the streets of Dublin is outlined in this profile, dating from 2009. She has since been promoted to Deputy Commissioner Operations.

COULD this senior garda officer be the force's first woman Commissioner?

Dubliner Noirin O'Sullivan cut her teeth as a tough street drugs cop, rising  to  become one of two operational commanders in the National Drugs Unit and now an assistant commissioner in charge of the west of Ireland.

The force is set for major change in the next few months as Commisioner Noel Conroy retires in November.

AC O'Sullivan made her name as a founder member of the 'Mockies', the groundbreaking garda unit which tackled drug dealing on the streets of Dublin in the 1980s.

Working  plainclothes, O'Sullivan was one of just three women in the group, which targeted major dealers working in flat complexes and on street corners. 

For the gardai it was a revoluntionary new unit in a force which was then very much still stuck in the groove of the 1950s.

The unit worked as part of the then Central Detective Unit, and was responsible for a number of major convictions against Dublin's first wave of heroin dealers. 

As a 'Mockie', O'Sullivan battled Larry Dunne and his notorious drugs gang, the outfit that  introduced heroin dealing to Dublin. 

Dunne, from Dolphin's Barn, was later jailed for 14 years for heroin offences.

Many of Noirin's comrades in Mockies have also risen to senior rank or members of major investigation units.

AC O'Sullivan joined the gardai in 1981, and has served at a number of stations in Dublin city, and in Tipperary. 

Following a number of promotions, she was posted as detective superintendent over the Garda National Drugs Unit, responsible for detecting the supply of drugs into the State.

She was then promoted to Chief Superintendent, the second woman after Asst Comm Clancy to achieve that rank, and worked in the force's human resources section.

Prior to her appointment as Assistant Commissioner, O'Sullivan was Chief Superintendent of the Garda Technical Bureau, based at the Phoenix Park. 

In this capacity, she was responsible for all technical examinations of serious crime scenes. In her new role, she reports directly to Deputy Commissioners Fachtna Murphy, Peter Fitzgerald and Martin  Callinan.     

AC O'Sullivan was selected as one of three new postings to that rank  three months ago, but was officially appointed last weekend. 

Assistant Commissioner is the third most senior rank in the garda force. O'Sullivan is only the second woman to be appointed to the rank.

**Since this profile was written in 2009, O'Sullivan has since been promoted to Deputy Commissioner Operations.

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