Wednesday 13 December 2017

Sorry saga is risking Garda's good name

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


If all that was required of a Garda Commissioner was to have a titanium neck, and steely self-confidence, Nóirín O'Sullivan's tenure would be timeless. But chutzpah and bombast can only account for so much. The crisis enveloping the Garda is unprecedented. To arrive at a point where the fraud squad has been called upon to investigate potential chicanery at the very centre of Garda training, the forge where young recruits are tempered in the ethos of the force, is a scandal too far.

The revelation that EU money may also have been siphoned off adds to the urgency of getting some straight answers. Ms O'Sullivan has visited the Public Accounts Committee too often for us to know so little. Yesterday she had the nonchalance of someone attending a summer barbecue yet found herself turning on the spit, as the heat and temperature of the questions rose.

The Commissioner was first appraised of these grave allegations in Templemore in 2015. An interim report detailed serious financial irregularities and said that there was evidence that money was being spent on gifts and entertainment, even identifying a large number of bank accounts. There was enough acrid smoke here to suggest an emergency response, instead Ms O'Sullivan said these were largely legacy matters dating back 30 years. Not good enough.

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