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Six for on shortlist for top Garda job

Six names have been shortlisted to fill the vacant post of Garda Commissioner.

They are understood to include three external candidates.

Preliminary interviews for the job are due to be held tomorrow and it is expected that the list will then be whittled down further.

But the final interviews will not take place until the chairperson designate of the new Policing Authority has been nominated by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

There were an estimated 40 applications for the position, which became vacant after the forced retirement last March of Martin Callinan.

Mr Callinan stepped down as commissioner after he was advised he was not likely to survive a Cabinet discussion the following morning on the spate of controversies that had engulfed the force.

Since then, the sole deputy commissioner, Noirin O'Sullivan, has been filling the post on an interim basis at a highly difficult time for the force, and she has been tasked with organising the Garda response to a range of inquiries and investigations into the controversies.

She is one of the three internal candidates left in the running.

The other two Garda applicants are assistant commissioners, Derek Byrne, who was in the final short-list of three earlier this year for the post of chief constable of the PSNI; and Fintan Fanning, who was responsible for the biggest shake-up of the Garda roster since the foundation of the force when he was in charge of human resources.

However, his job had been earmarked for civilianisation for the past couple of years and he has now moved to Mullingar to take over the eastern Garda region.


Mr Byrne has responsibility for the national support services, which include the specialist units involved in the fight against crime. The external candidates have not been named.

All three of the internal Garda candidates are highly respected within the force and it is most likely one of these three who will get the top job.

Candidates for chairperson of the Policing Authority will not be subject to a formal process of interviews and independent scrutiny by the Public Appointments Service.

A report published last week by the Oireachtas Justice Committee recommended the Irish authority be based on the Scottish model, with "independent members" rather than "political appointees".

The committee also recommended an independent appointment system, conducted by the PAS, which would make a recommendation on the preferred candidate, which the Minister for Justice could only veto for exceptional reasons.