Callinan is first ever Dub to take Garda chief post

Cormac Byrne

INCOMING Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan will be the first ever Dubliner to hold the force's top job.

The veteran garda, who was tipped for the post by the Herald last month, will become the new boss of the force at the end of the month.

He is currently deputy commissioner, in charge of armed operations battling organised crime gangs and Republican terrorists.

Callinan will start the role on December 28 following the approval of his promotion at yesterday's Cabinet meeting.

The 57-year-old married father-of-three from Glasnevin, north Dublin, will be the first Dubliner to serve as Garda Commissioner in the 82 years of the force.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern nominated Mr Callinan for promotion, securing the approval of his Cabinet colleagues for the move.

Mr Ahern congratulated Mr Callinan and wished him well in his new post.

"He has a distinguished record of service in the Garda Siochana, with a wide range of experience in key positions in the force, and has all the qualities needed to lead the Garda Siochana successfully through the challenging times ahead."

Mr Ahern paid tribute to outgoing Garda Commissioner Murphy, who will step down on December 28, saying he had led the force "from the front and with enormous dedication and commitment" during a period of significant organisational change.


"He leaves behind a proud record of dedicated service to the State in the finest tradition of the Garda Siochana and, on my own behalf and on behalf of the Government, I thank him for his service to the State."

Mr Callinan has been a member of the force for 37 years and has served in various postings in Dublin, the south east and the west of Ireland over his career.

He would be expected to retire in three years' time at 60. Assistant Commissioner Noreen O'Sullivan is expected to fill any vacancy left by Mr Callinan.

In his current role, Mr Callinan is head of operations across the force, meaning he is in charge of all operational policing in the Republic.

He also has overall responsibility for anti-terrorism operations and all national Garda units, including the Garda National Drugs Unit, Criminal Assets Bureau and Organised Crime Unit.

Mr Callinan assumes the role of Garda Commissioner in one of the most difficult periods in the force's history, with the record 14,500 strength of the force to be cut by 1,500 personnel to 13,000.

With increased garda retirements and the continuing public service moratorium on recruitment, many feel the force is being deprived of necessary experience and youth.