Minister says new garda commissioner will be recruited, while visiting Longford this morning

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

Former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan

Former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan

Speaking in Longford this morning, Minister Health Simon Harris refused to be drawn on whether or not Government was aware of Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan’s intention to retire.

The Garda Commissioner announced her retirement from the force yesterday evening just days after a damning report on inflated breath test numbers.

“I want to pay tribute to Noirin O'Sullivan who has made her decision to retire; I do think that it is important that people do stop and put somebody’s career in overall context,” he added.

“This is a woman who has served in An Garda Síochána for 36 years and An Garda Síochána continue to work to this day to keep our citizens safe and well.

“I wish her and her family well on her own personal decision to retire; it wasn’t something that I foresaw and the Minister for Justice was made aware of this at about 5pm on Sunday evening and obviously then a public announcement was made at 6pm.

“We respect her decision and the Government’s priority will now be to find a successor.”

In a statement  Ms O'Sullivan said she was stepping down because the “unending cycle” of investigations and inquiries had made it difficult for her to “implement the deep cultural and structural reform necessary to modernise”.  

Meanwhile, the Minister said the focus now should be on the recruitment process and the continuing reform within the force.

“A couple of things have changed since the last time a commissioner was recruited most notably the fact that we now have a policing authority,” he added.

“This is a reform that many people have looked for for years and is something that Fine Gael delivered in government.

“We now have a policing authority that will have a role to play in that recruitment process and the Minister for Justice will obviously brief the cabinet on this issue this week and I look forward to having that opportunity to discuss it with colleagues.”

The Minister also added that the former commissioner was recruited to the position following a full international competition and was deemed by the interview panel to be the best person for the job.  

“It’s important that the role of the policing authority really comes to the fore here, particularly in terms of the new opportunities that presents; this was a very important reform introduced by government and we will now move forward with recruiting a successor,” Minister Harris concluded.