RTÉ crime correspondent Paul Reynolds on RTÉ’s Nine News last night
In light of Noirín O’Sullivan appointment as the new Garda Commissioner, last night Mr Reynolds reported the following:
“[Her appointment] has been broadly welcomed, there has been some criticism but Noirín O’Sullivan is the first Garda Commissioner in the history of the State to be appointed to the position, following and open, public competition and she got the position through, against national and international competition and that does give her some credibility as she takes up, begins the job first thing tomorrow morning.
She’s also dealing with the criticism, as you say, by distinctly saying that it’s an advantage, that she was an insider and that she was part of senior management in the force for so long because it does mean that she knows the members. She says she knows the organisation, she knows the problems, she can implement change and she also knows the community and what they expect from a policing service. And she was also appointed to the position, in spite of reports that the abuses are continuing in the penalty point system, in spite of the new system that she introduced last June.
And she said something very interesting in relation to that point, here at the press conference tonight. She said that she’s confident that when the audits are published very soon that they will show that the system she introduced is, in fact, working. And that’s at variance with many of the reports we’ve heard over the past few weeks.“
Meanwhile, John Mooney reported in last weekend’s Sunday Times:
“An internal investigation by gardai into fresh allegations that senior officers continued to terminate penalty points in questionable circumstances is to be referred to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). The investigation identified a few cases of gardai deleting penalty points in contravention of new regulations introduced last June to prevent abuses of the system. It also found evidence to suggest officers continued to terminate penalty points even after two garda whistleblowers revealed there had been widespread abuse of the system.
“Nóirín O’Sullivan, the interim garda commissioner, ordered an investigation last September after The Sunday Times reported an allegation by Maurice McCabe, one of the two whistleblowers, that some officers caught speeding were continuing to claim wrongly they had been using private cars on official garda business.”
“These cases are among those being referred to the GSOC, which is already running a separate investigation into the termination of penalty points. The cases could result in disciplinary hearings, demotions or the imposition of fines.”
“The delay in finalising the GSOC investigation has been attributed to labour shortages, after the agency lost a number of staff. Frances Fitzgerald, the justice minister, and O’Sullivan have promised to restore public confidence in the penalty points system. Fitzgerald has promised to publish the findings of the internal investigation once it has concluded.”
“Security sources believe the report’s publication is unlikely, given that it contains evidence that could lead to GSOC taking disciplinary or criminal proceedings against officers. “The promise to publish the full report was politically motivated,” said one security source. “The Department ofJustice will probably publish a redacted version.”
Watch back here