‘Anxious To Reassure The Public’

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From top: Paul Reynolds, of RTÉ; Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan speaking to journalists at Phoenix Park this morning

Earlier today.

Paul Reynolds interviewed Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

It’s the first time Ms O’Sullivan has spoken publicly about the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Mr Reynolds reported on RTÉ’s News At One’s news headlines:

The Garda Commissioner was anxious today to reassure the public that changes that are badly needed in An Garda Siochana will be implemented including changes in training, supervision, incident management and how victims of crime are dealt with.”

“She says it took some time to make the case for investment so that the gardaí could receive the resources necessary to make these changes happen.”

In relation to allegations that some officers may have been preparing to give testimony against Sgt Maurice McCabe, at the O’Higgins Commission, which contradicted his, at a meeting in Mullingar, the Commissioner said she took action as soon as she became aware of the public commentary that gave this impression.”

“She said that she cannot comment further because the matter is being investigated by GSOC. She also said that the Garda needs to change its approach to whistleblowers but it’s already taken steps in that regard.”

Listen to Mr Reynolds’ interview with Ms O’Sullivan in full here (go to 10.20)

O’Sullivan acted ‘as soon as possible’ over allegations (RTE)

UPDATE: A transcript of the interview…

Paul Reynolds: “Commissioner, you mentioned there were recurring faults. What do you say to criticism from people like Mick Wallace and Clare Daly, elected representatives, who say that you were a part of the senior management who didn’t implement those changes when they should have been implemented because the faults kept occurring?”

Noirin O’Sullivan: “Well I don’t think that there’s either time or space to go into it here but that’s something we can explore further with the authority and that’s why we were very anxious that the authority would bring forward a public session because I think it’s very important that the public are reassured that there are lessons have been learned and I think also that…”

Reynolds: “But why were they recurring?”

O’Sullivan: “That the public can be reassured that there is now adequate levels of investment, to allow us to start implementing some of those changes that are very badly needed. So for example, if you look at some of the criticisms, quite right criticisms, in the O’Higgins Commission particularly, we had incident management and  supervisory management about insuring that Gardaí are properly trained. That there are supervisory management practices in place to ensure that people are actually being supervised properly and they have been supported in doing the job that they have to do and providing the appropriate level of service. Particularly to victims in crime, we now have the opportunity to put those measures in place because we now do have the investment.”

Reynolds: “You’ve been criticised in relation to, following the publication of the report, in relation to the actions of some senior officers. Now, I know that allegations were made, they’re unfounded, and this has been sent to GSOC for investigation, but the questions in relation to you have been: what did you know about this? When did you know it? And why didn’t you act before the GSOC investigation was set up?”

O’Sullivan: “Well I think there are a couple of very important points that need to be made. Firstly, Mr Justice O’Higgins conducted a Commission of Investigation, of which we was the sole member. He had the opportunity to hear all of the evidence, from all of the parties and all of the submissions on behalf of all of the legal parties. And Mr O’Higgins’ report speaks for itself, having weighed up all of those submissions, all of the evidence given by all parties. When we received the O’Higgins Commission report, and some of the public commentary attributing, misplaced or otherwise, belief that senior officers had done something which was improper and inappropriate to do, then it was immediately required to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission and that investigation, I’m not allowed, I can’t comment any further but it is being investigated by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.

Reynolds: “But can you not say why you didn’t take action when you became aware of it?”

O’Sullivan: “Well you know, I’m sure Justice O’Higgins would have a view, if I were to go into the middle of his commission. But, as soon as I became aware of the public commentary which gave this impression, it was required to the Ombudsman.”

Reynolds: “You gave evidence to the Commission, didn’t you?”

O’Sullivan: “Well I think anybody that looks at the report, there’s an appendice of witnesses to the report. Obviously, the Commission was a private sitting and it was a matter for anybody that was before the Commission to request it to be in public but it is a matter of record, in the report, that I appeared as a witness.”

Reynolds: “But what about your handling of Sgt Maurice McCabe? The criticisms in relation to instructions to your lawyers, in relation to testing his credibility, his motivation and his integrity?”

O’Sullivan: “Well, you know, again, I’m on record as saying that An Garda Siochana have lots of things to change. One of them is our approach to people who want to have a different voice and who have a different voice and want to bring things to our attention. And very, very clearly, from day one, I’ve said that dissent is not disloyalty, we have taken a number of steps to ensuring that people can bring forward issues of which they want to raise. Some of those people just want to raise their issues and they want to have them dealt with and they have that right. In order for people to be able to come forward and people that want to, under the Protective Disclosures Act, bring forward disclosures. We have put systems into place to ensure that people can do that, that there will be a safe environment in which they can do it. And we are working with bodies, such as Transparency Ireland, to ensure that the proper environment is there so that people can do that. We’ve also appointed a Protective Disclosures Manager and we will have appropriately trained staff to deal with that.”

Reynolds: “Ok but why did you, why did you test his credibility and motivation… no, sorry, why did you test his credibility and motivation?”

O’Sullivan: “Well, I think, refer it back to the statement, you know, I’m very restricted in what I can say in relation to what happened at the Commission but I think a previous statement makes it clear what the approach was.”

Previously: Clarifying Matters

21 thoughts on “‘Anxious To Reassure The Public’

  1. Tish Mahorey

    Can RTE save money by simply replacing Paul Reynolds with the Garda Twitter account?

    1. realPolithicks

      Including the commissioner. It’s time to bring somebody in from outside this organization as its clear that anyone who “came up through the ranks” is incapable or perhaps unwilling to make the changes necessary to restore public confidence.

  2. PaddyJoe

    “In relation to allegations that some officers may have been preparing to give testimony against Sgt Maurice McCabe, at the O’Higgins Commission, which contradicted his, at a meeting in Mullingar, the Commissioner said she took action as soon as she became aware of the public commentary that gave this impression.”
    So she’s confirmed that she took no action until the story became public. So why didn’t she?

  3. Iwerzon

    She can start by making the Gardai address people with Sir or Madam. The RUC were heartless bastards but at least they were polite and not enticed from the mountains with lumps of raw meat like some of the heads I’ve encountered on the beat around Dublin.

  4. Eoin

    She should start by resigning, if she has any respect for the force? Otherwise it’s just the usual hollow words. Well unfortunately the hollow words don’t cut it anymore. Wake up. Because everyone else is. .

  5. Anne

    No investment is required for them to treat whistleblowers better than the witch hunts they’ve been subject to.

    Can’t comment on it now, as it’s with GSOC huh. And how long did it take Claire Daly’s case with GSOC to come to a close? 3 years was it?

    She’s too fond of using legal loopholes.. Even if she thinks she doesn’t have to comment on the particulars of the two officers fabricating evidence to discredit McCabe and her counsel been given instruction to question his motives, she can comment on why she only referred it to GSOC now.

  6. Anne

    RE: In relation to allegations that some officers may have been preparing to give testimony against Sgt Maurice McCabe, at the O’Higgins Commission, which contradicted his, at a meeting in Mullingar, the Commissioner said she took action as soon as she became aware of the public commentary that gave this impression.”

    So, let me see now… she didn’t take action at the time, and public commentary is what dictates what gets referred to GSOC. We got caught by the balls so we had to do something, aren’t we great.

    Great reassurance there altogether.

  7. Raymondo

    Maybe these comments about Paul Reynolds should be redirected to complaints@rte.ie. Nothing will change unless they receive the feedback, which they have to look into.

  8. Anne

    RTE are for the birds too….

    You’d be best off switching channel the minute the Angelus comes on.

    State TV.

  9. Truth in the News

    Noirin O’Sullivan the Commissioner trots along to a “Flower Show” and the flunkeys
    from RTE oblige with an interview, its past time that a few people in the Phoenix Park
    and Montrose got the shoe out the door…..who do these people take the citizens of
    this nation for.

  10. perricrisptayto

    Is Pauls daddy still a high ranking officer or has he retired yet?
    I imagine Noreen felt she was being mauled by a lamb,being interviewed by Junior Reynolds.

Comments are closed.