Assistant Garda Commissioner John Fintan Fanning (far right) with former Justice Minister Alan Shatter, Fine Gael Tipperary North TD Noel Coonan and former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in 2013

Assistant Garda Commissioner John Fintan Fanning, who claimed he was asked unfair questions during an interview for the post of Deputy Commissioner, lost his case in the High Court this morning.

He was seeking injunctions restraining the recruitment process for the post.

He claimed that, during his interview, the Irish Water protests and the Jobstown protest, involving Joan Burton, were discussed.

The Irish Times, in April, reported that he told the High Court: “While I was conscious of how my answer might be interpreted, I insisted that, as we live in a democracy, it was the duty of the gardaí to enforce all the laws that the Oireachtas created.”

The case was discussed on News At One earlier today…

Richard Crowley: “Assistant Garda Commissioner John Fintan Fanning, while being interviewed for the position of Deputy Commissioner has been refused injunctions, restraining the recruitment process for the post. John Fintan Fanning claims the nature of the questions, along with several other factors rendered the conduct of the recruitment process unfair and flawed. Our crime correspondent Paul Reynolds was covering this. Paul tell us more about this case?”

Paul Reynolds: Richard this case is all about two of the top three positions in An Garda Siochana post of deputy commissioner. There were interviews held for this post and the assistant commissioner Fintan Fanning, who’s in charge of the Midlands area at the moment, was one of seven people who were shortlisted for interview. Now this was a high power panel that they went before. It included people like Sir Hugh Orde, who was the former president of the Association of Chief of Police [Officers], Dermot Gallagher, who’s the former secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs and the former chairman of the Garda Ombudsman Commission, Margaret McCabe, from the Public Appointments Commission. So this was, if you like, a heavyweight panel that assistant commissioner Fintan Fanning went before.

“Now he was interviewed for the post and then he was told the next day he wasn’t, that his interview hadn’t been been successful. But then he subsequently took a case to the High Court and he claimed that he’d been asked unfair questions during the interview, about his views on left-wing political extremists. He also claimed that the process was flawed for a number of reasons, including because of the nature of the questions that had been put to him by the current Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan. Now the Public Appointment Commission opposed his case. They denied that he had been asked unfair questions and they said that the questions asked of him had been related to his views on matters such as the main security threats to the State. So the case was heard for two days earlier this year, in the High Court. Mr Justice David Keane gave his judgement today.”

Crowley: “And he said that Mr Fanning’s precise allegations concerning the allegedly unfair line of questioning put to him remains, “frustratingly unclear”.”

Reynolds: “Yeah and, aswell as that, he said that Mr Fanning’s own assertions were too vague and  inconsistent. He said that Mr Fanning did not demonstrate that there was any question regarding his own personal views in relation to any politician or any political party. He also found that it was inconceivable  to suggest that it was inappropriate or indeed improper or unlawful to ask any candidate about their views on security or terrorist threats. And he also found that it was inconceivable  that any objective person could reasonably  apprehend bias on the part of the current Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.”

Listen back here

Assistant Garda Commissioner refused court injunctions restraining recruitment process for Deputy Commissioner post (Irish Independent)

Garda ‘taken aback’ at political questions in job interview (Irish Times, April 23, 2015)

Pic: Tipperary Star

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25 thoughts on “Inconceivable

  1. Ferret McGruber

    From the article:

    “He [Fanning] claimed that, during his interview, the Irish Water protests and the Jobstown protest, involving Joan Burton, were discussed.”

    “…they [the interviewers] said that the questions asked of him had been related to his views on matters such as the main security threats to the State.”

    Seriously – the water protests and the Jobstown protests – main security threats to the State? Really? Can you really see ISIS trying to recruit Paul Murphy any day soon?

    1. realPolithicks

      It’s an interesting insight into the mindset of people who wield tremendous power in Ireland.

      1. classter

        Is it really?

        Anyway, is it stated anywhere that those two topics (Jobstown protest & water protests generally) were the only topics raised?

        1. realPolithicks

          Nobody is saying they were the only topics raised, however the fact that they were raised under the guise of “the main security threats to the State.” is disturbing.

  2. Jonotti

    He was asked reasonable questions about policing plans for extremist groups. He failed the interview and then tried to blame it on politics. It was an act of revenge more than anything, calculated to rouse the usual conspiracy obsessed rabble and embarrass the commissioner. Shame.

    1. Mr. T.

      Water protesters are not “extremist” groups as much as people like you attempt to paint them as such.

      They are citizens protesting against and economic order which favours the wants of business over the needs of a society. Most people’s issue with Irish Water is not paying for water, it’s the inevitable privatization of it.

      1. Rob_G

        The vast majority of water protesters are not extremists, of course.

        Eirigí, and the 32 CSM, are very much extremists.

  3. delacaravanio

    If those who run the Gardaí seriously believe peaceful protests by householders against service charges for domestic water usage pose a threat to the security of the State then God help us all.

    1. classter

      Policing / managing protests is very much part of the remit of a police force.

      It takes a delicate touch to maintain law and order without clamping down excessively.

      Not all protestors are peaceful even if the vast majority are. And protests can descend into violence or looting if not managed properly. Look at the trouble that far-left activists have preventing anarchists/looters giving them a bad name.

      1. delacaravanio

        I didn’t think you understood my comment. The judge and Garda Commissioner appear to be seriously suggesting that water protesters pose an existential threat to the security of the state. That is a ludicrous and naive view that exposes the groupthink of the establishment. Nobody is suggesting that the Gardaí should not police protests, but that is a civilian police matter, not one for special branch or the security services.

        Other than Islamist militants, the security threats that exist in this country are the same as they have been for the last fifty odd years: Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries.

  4. D2dweller

    Those two guards have to be the most Irish looking people I’ve ever seen. They just look like two big heads of boiled cabbage

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      I disagree. Callinan could easily pass for a Frenchman and Fanning for a Pole.

      The other two however….

  5. Mr. T.

    The High Court is complicit in maintaining the status quo of centre-right FG/FF control of the state. They will never side with anyone who challenges that.

    We don’t like in a true democracy. We live in something more akin to an African post colonial state which is run by a small group of corrupt cabals. The fact we are in Europe gives a misleading perception.

    1. classter

      Maybe you’re right, Mr., and not just throwing out wild hyperbole.

      Perhaps you could share one good example of an unfair question asked of John Fintan Fanning.
      Just one example of a question which would suggest that the High Court were wrong to decide against him?

  6. phil

    This man will likely be stuck in his pay grade for the rest of his career, this will naturally affect the bottom line of his pension , I would imagine that would sting a fair bit, and would likely affect your decision making process in some way.

    1. jonotti

      You have a poor understanding of his situation. He’s an assistant commissioner at the end of his career.

  7. Truth in the News

    There is a rot at the center of the interview process, who cooked up these type
    of questions, what is their mindset, have certain elements become alarmed that
    the opposition to water tax will gather more momentium and that the Guards or
    whose in charge of them, might not implement the wishes of their political masters
    Lets put it bluntly have the Guards become the plaything of the political elite currently in power, we had this several times before with previous administrations
    Threre needs to be mass protest to ensure that policing is independent of political
    whims and that those who try it on are booted out.

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