Changing Of The Guards

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Former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and Acting Garda Commissioner Donal O’Cualain leaving a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality in March; Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan; tweet by Fine Gael TD and Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty yesterday

This morning.

In light of Noirin O’Sullivan’s resignation yesterday evening from her role as Garda Commissioner…

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan was interviewed by Paul Cunningham on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

He said he wasn’t surprised by her resignation and that the possibility of it was made known to him in recent weeks.

He also said “there’s lots happening” in terms of reforming An Garda Siochana.

From the interview:

Charlie Flanagan:I wasn’t surprised at the news. The possibility the commissioner O’Sullivan might retire was flagged to me over the last couple of weeks. Of course it was treated as confidential until such time as the commissioner made her decision which was indicated to me approximately at 5pm to me yesterday evening.”

Paul Cunningham: “Because it was of interest, in the Irish Independent, John Downing was just noting that in the past week you were asked in one interview, on four occasions, but you avoided saying whether she would be in the job this time next year. You mentioned you had some inkling over the past weeks, where did those inklings come from?

Flanagan: “I understand that there were some discussions, having regard for the fact that the commissioner said that she would devote much of her summer break to giving consideration to whether or not she’d continue as Garda Commissioner and whether such continuing would be the right thing for her to do. In the course of that, there were discussions with officials from my department.”

Cunningham:Did you contact her and ask her to stay because only in the past couple of days, your cabinet colleague, Minister [Regina] Doherty said that the Garda Commissioner had the vision and the grit that was needed.”

Flanagan:No I didn’t, I haven’t been speaking to the Garda Commissioner since before she took her summer break at the end of July.”

Cunningham: “The TD from the Social Democrats, Roisin Shortall, said that the commissioner had lost all credibility and authority and it was very difficult to comprehend why the Government continued to defend her. Why didn’t you move earlier? Why did you not recognise that her position was untenable?

Flanagan:She was the Garda Commissioner, she was engaged in the process of reform. She took a break over the summer months, she was back at her desk last week. I had intended meeting her this week. Obviously there are urgent issues to be discussed – the programme of reform, the five-year action plan, the Garda Inspectorate Report, Changing Policing In Ireland, but obviously the Garda Commissioner took a decision that she felt was the right thing to do, to retire, and of course I accepted that.

“And this morning I will be making contact with the Policing Authority so as we can set in train the process of finding her replacement. In the meantime, I’m very pleased that Deputy Commissioner Donal O’Cualain will now act as police commissioner with all the powers and role and function that Noirin O’Sullivan had.”

Cunningham: “Before we come to that come to that question of process because it’s vitally important, can I just ask you whether you accept what Jim O’Callaghan, of Fianna Fail, said last night, that the resignation was effectively some accountability within An Garda Siochana for the 1.5million fake breath tests.”

Flanagan: “Well. I want to acknowledge here that this has been a very, very difficult time for the Garda Siochana, there are a number of inquiries, there’s a tribunal and, you know, I’m under no illusion here. The scale of reform here, and the need to move with a certain urgency is essential. But, from what I see, from both Garda management and from frontline gardai on a daily basis is that they have the appetite to see change and it’s up to us as political leaders to ensure we can drive change.

“And that’s why, just before I took office, my predecessor [Frances Fitzgerald] introduced the Future of Policing [commission] which is now considering all aspects of the garda service and all functions of the garda service and indeed the many oversight bodies whom I’ve been meeting in the course of the summer, the Policing Authority, the Garda Inspectorate, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission  and, you know, I will ensure that we will coordinate a programme of reform which is both urgent and important in Garda Siochana. And I believe it’s important too, that the reform programme now gains a certain momentum and that, of course, in no circumstances, would its credibility be adversely affected or undermined.”

Cunningham:The Taoiseach said that the Government was now going to see how best to accelerate the crucial and essential reform programme. Why aren’t you doing that already? Why are we only going to accelerate it now?

Flanagan: “Oh, well, we are doing it already. We have the report from December 2015, Changing Policing In Ireland; 18 main recommendations  in relation to the structure of An Garda Siochana; the manner in which practices are deployed; culture of the Garda Siochana; human resources; financial management; all Garda practices and, of course, I’m looking forward to this year’s budget for next year when we can continue to ensure the acceleration of recruitment, both new garda siochana going in for training in Templemore graduating, at the earliest opportunity and also the further civilianisation of the garda organisation and the roll-out of modern policing. So there’s lots happening.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: She’s Gone

How Did He Get Here?

Absence Of Malice

Related:  Minister: Garda Commissioner is ‘incredible role model for women’ (The Irish Times)

24 thoughts on “Changing Of The Guards

  1. Blonto

    Accelerate reform!!!! Using a report from 2015.
    Nothing done. Nothing to do.
    Same old poo. The cowardly morons in government kept backing that useless, corrupt commissioner. They’ll wheel in the next in line and NOTHING WILL CHANGE.

  2. Clampers Outside!

    “A special place in hell for women who don’t support women” regardless of what they do or say.

    You are a scumbag if you don’t.
    Sounds like you are being a bully Regina. Support should be given to competence, not one’s gender.
    – – – – –

    Regina Doherty – “The commissioner is an incredible role model for women”.

    Why Regina?
    The commissioner appears dodgy as fupp, where are the phones? The commissioner appears to be incompetent, and not a good role model.
    Oh wait, it’s not about performance, it’s just the fact that the commissioner is a women, and visible in a high ranking position, no matter how good or bad they are at the job, is that it? Sure looks like that’s what is being said by Regina. And that’s just plain ridiculous nonsense.

    Pat Hickey, for example, top of his game for years. Should be the role model for the lads by the same token, yeah? No, thanks.

    Cartherine Murphy and Roisin Shortall of Soc Dems are far better role models by a long long stretch, not the commissioner. Look up http://www.irishwomeninbusiness.ie/ for some role models too. Not the commissioner…. jaysus.

    1. Brain warp

      I totally agree with Regina

      O’Sullivan rose to the top in a male dominated institution, naturally she had to prove herself even more competent than the men she beat to the position. As such she’s a fantastic role model for women. You don’t like the way she did her job and that’s ok but it’s nothing to do with competence. More she may have had a misguided view that the protection of the organisation and a gradual series of reforms would be more easily achieved simultaneously rather than by force. I think she was right to think this as it’s a very conservative body.

      1. Rowsdower

        You dont like the corrupt, nepotistic and incompetent way she did her job but that has nothing to do with competence?

        I think it has everything to do with competence

        1. Brain warp

          No I don’t think it’s individual competence in this case rowsdower – it’s a closed, patrician institution- how much can one person really do? Especially an insider. People criticising her appear to have little regard to the reality of her situation, what she inherited or tried to implement. That and I do think that successful women are more harshly judged in public life when they appear to be struggling in their role. Men are forgiven a lot more readily IMHO

        1. The Lady Vanishes

          Regina Doherty!! The idea that women should blindly support other women just because they are women is sexist, discriminatory and in the long term has the potential to cause real damage to the progress of women. As a woman I have no difficulty in saying, Regina, you’re an eejit for that hackneyed, cliched quote, particularly in that context. Even ignoring the existence of men altogether Noirin O’Sullivan is not only a woman she makes decisions which impact on other women and therefore for the sake of these other women she needs to be subject to criticism on exactly the same terms as if she were a man.

          1. Brain warp

            I’d say she was on the bog at the time or in the car and heard Mary Lou McDonald tearing into Noirin like an oul cat, or someone’s likely told her about it. Indeed I wouldn’t see what’s the big deal about saying such a thing. You sound a bit mental to be honest!

          2. mildred st. meadowlark

            Well said Lady. You put it far more eloquently than I could have.

            The utter poo that Regina is spouting for the sake of a clever soundbite is wrong, and divisive.

            And she’s a fool.

          1. realPolithicks

            A bit of consistency from the moderators would help too. How does it make sense that “naughty” language can be used in the writing of an article but then can’t be used when commenting on it.

          2. realPolithicks

            Ah yeah, its not a big deal its just that every now and then you’d like to say fupp instead of fupp…if you know what I mean.

  3. Willie Banjo

    There’s a weird black hole in the middle of that’special place in hell for women who don’t support women’ theory. If woman A doesn’t support woman B, then do you condemn woman A….or support her?

    1. Paul

      And if Woman B is a murderer, should Woman A support that too?

      Judge people on their ability and actions, not on what hangs (or indeed, does not hang) between their legs.

  4. Kolmo

    Regina Doherty – the woman who got the heavies to pay someone a visit for tweeting something she didn’t agree with..
    One rule..
    The party of insulated dopes.

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