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Garda Commissioner's office is now damaged


Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan. Photo: PA

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan. Photo: PA

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan. Photo: PA

The allegations against Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan make it difficult to see how her tenure as head of the force can continue for much longer.

Commissioner O'Sullivan now faces a statutory investigation looking into whether:

  • She was involved in ordering the Garda Press Office to brief the media negatively against a Garda whistleblower;
  • She knew about a secret meeting between her predecessor as Commissioner, Martin Callinan, and then Public Accounts Committee chairman and Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, where allegations against a Garda whistleblower were made;
  • She planned and orchestrated broadcasts on RTÉ, supposedly a leaked account of the unpublished O'Higgins Commission Report, in which Sergeant Maurice McCabe was wrongly branded a liar and irresponsible.

The terms of reference of the investigation into the treatment of Garda whistleblowers places Commissioner O'Sullivan front and centre.

Embarrassingly, the Commissioner's mobile phones and her phone records for a two-year period are to be examined, as are all Garda electronic and paper files, to see if she is implicated in this affair.

Already, a credible figure like Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin is calling on the Commissioner to "stand aside from her duties while the commission of investigation is under way".

Taoiseach Enda Kenny stood firmly by the Garda Commissioner yesterday.

"There has been no findings of any wrongdoing of any kind against her," he said.

Fianna Fáil is not for wielding the axe either. The Independents are surprisingly quiet. Just how long the Government is going to stand by her remains to be seen.

Regardless of the outcome, the office of the Garda Commissioner has unquestionably been damaged in the public eye and there is a substantial job to be done to restore confidence in the management of the force.

May now has mandate of parliament on Brexit

And so it begins. Westminster MPs have overwhelmingly agreed to let the British government begin their departure from the EU as they voted on the Brexit bill.

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The draft legislation was approved by 494 votes to 122, and now moves on to the House of Lords.

The only real fissures were in the Labour Party, where shadow business secretary Clive Lewis was one of 52 Labour MPs to defy party orders to back the bill, and he subsequently resigned from the front bench.

British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to trigger formal Brexit talks by the end of March, when she plans to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. She needed the permission of parliament before doing so.

Worryingly, attempts to force the government to give all EU citizens in Britain permanent residency were defeated.

The Irish community in Britain will most likely still benefit from the long-standing bilateral arrangement between our countries.

The May administration now has the mandate of both the people and the parliament to proceed with negotiations.

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