Tag Archives: Garda Commisioner Noirin O’Sullivan

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Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan with two mounted gardaí this morning outside Farmleigh House as she met school students who have made projects related to policing matters for the BT Young Scientist competition

You may recall how, in March, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) received a 44-page Garda Internal Audit Section (GIAS) report on serious financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore.

It also received a further 13-page interim audit report in relation to how the recommendations of the GIAS report were being implemented. This was carried out by the head of internal audit Niall Kelly.

Readers will recall how the GIAS report was the subject of an article by John Mooney, of The Sunday Times, on January 22.

Yesterday, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan’s appeared before the PAC to field questions on these reports.

Further to this…

Conor Lally in today’s Irish Times reports:

At the PAC meeting, which lasted more than five hours, the Commissioner said that in July 2015, she was having a cup of tea in a room in the Templemore college when [director of Garda human resources, John] Barrett informed her there were problems.

The meeting was brief and it was the first time she knew of any concerns in relation to spending at the Garda training college, she said.

However, Mr Barrett then contradicted her evidence. He said the meeting lasted for more than two hours.

He produced notes which he said he had taken at the time he met her and in which he had recorded the start and finish time of the meeting, as well as who was present, the issues discussed and the order in which people had walked into the room.

Nóirín O’Sullivan in new crisis over Garda college finances (Conor Lally, The Irish Times)

In addition, RTÉ reported yesterday evening:

The head of An Garda Síochána’s internal audit system has told an Oireachtas committee he believes he was “duped” when he was told that action would be taken in relation to financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore.

Speaking before the Public Accounts Committee, Niall Kelly said there was a different culture in the force and he said he got caught in “circling the wagons” as late as 2015.

Mr Kelly said in his view certain laws were broken; procurement legislation was breached but these issues need to be further investigated.

Head of garda audit system says he was ‘duped’ over Templemore (RTE)

More to follow.

Previously: Free At 2.30pm?

‘I Knew Full Well It Hadn’t Been Discussed At PAC Because I’m A Member Of PAC’

Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie


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This lunchtime.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan held a press conference, in light of yesterday’s PAC meeting.

At the meeting, differences emerged between her and the director of human resources John Barrett’s account of when and how he raised concerns with her about the Garda College. She said he raised his concerns in a brief meeting over a cup of tea while he said it was a two-hour meeting, in which he took notes.

There were also questions over whether she told the Department of Justice, as she was required to do and had been given legal advice to do so, and over head of An Garda Síochána’s internal audit Niall Kelly claiming that he felt he was “duped” when he was told action would be taken when financial irregularities were found and that he faced the “circling of wagons” regarding the same.

On RTÉ’s News At One, Paul Reynolds reported on the press conference with a clip from Ms O’Sullivan saying:

“Well, you know, regardless of how long the meeting took place on the Garda College, I think the issues and facts speak for themselves. Mr Barrett, absolutely as line manager in the college, when he became aware of issues, which raised alarms for him, he raised them with his line manager. His line manager raised those issues with myself and the two deputy commissioners on the 27th of July. On the 28th of July, there was  a group formalised which the CAO had been working on and that group met thereafter.”

The important thing here is there is always full transparency around this issues. So on the 28th of  July, the date after that meeting, this group was formalised and it was put into place. There were representatives from the Department of Justice on that group. The objective was to make sure that a) that the matters were dealt with, that there was full transparency in relation to the matters dealt with and that we understood fully what the complexities of the issues were. And, again, we have to remember, this is something that is going on for over 30 years.

“The funding model in the college dates back 30 years. There were several reports as we have heard into the way these matters needed to be regularised. The important thing is, in July 2015, when I, as accounting officer, found out about these issues, we immediately took steps to begin to address it. Those steps have led to revised administrative structures in the Garda College. Assurances from the line managers there, including the chief administrative officer and the head of internal audit, that what happened then cannot happen now.”

“And we will make sure that that continues to be robustly put in place and we make sure that the assurances that we all need, that the practices which we are totally unacceptable and cannot happen again.”

Listen back in full here

Pic: Rollingnews.ie


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Sam Boal/Rollingnews

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 15.55.49From top: Deputy Commissioner Dónall O’Cualáin, Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, and Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality; Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace; Noirin O’Sullivan

This morning.

In light of the latest Garda controversies.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, along with Deputy Commissioners Dónall O’Cualáin and John Twomey, and Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality.

Readers may recall a post from yesterday in relation to Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn’s announcement last week that Superintendent Pat Murray from Athlone had been appointed  to carry out the “fact finding” internal investigation in relation to the near one million false breath test figures and 14,700 wrongful convictions.

The post drew attention to the fact that, previously in the Dáil on December 15, 2015, Independents 4 Change TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly spoke about Superintendent Pat Murray.

Mr Wallace said of Superintendent Murray: “This is an individual who has harassed and bullied a Garda whistleblower to an awful degree for a long time.”

He also said that he would give the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald proof of  Superintendent Pat Murray reclassifying crime figures.

During this morning’s meeting of the justice committee, Mr Wallace asked about Superintendent Pat Murray and the Garda’s internal investigation.

From the exchange…

Mick Wallace: “Senior garda indiscipline is not under the remit of the Policing Authority, right? But, Commissioner, it is within yours, right? And would you agree that there’s a problem around how Garda indiscipline is dealt with? Now, in line, in tune with the question, I wanted to ask if Superintendent Pat Murray had any involvement in the internal inquiry? You might answer that for me?

Noirin O’Sullivan: “Deputy, or chair again, I’ll take your direction on this. I don’t think it’s appropriate to speak about individual members and, you know, I’m not sure what the question specifically relates to but I’m happy to answer a question on a broader issue if you wish.”

Chairman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: “Deputy Wallace, can you maybe rephrase? Maybe relook?”

Wallace: “I just read a press report that Superintendent Pat Murray was actually involved in a, but I don’t know if it’s true or not. And I just wanted the commissioner to confirm if yes or no…”

Ó Caoláin: “Is their a relevance to you raising it….

Wallace: “There is yeah, it’s connected to…”

Ó Caoláin: “…To be careful again, in the context of what I cautioned members about, at the outset of the meeting, I’m not privy to what is in your question…”

Wallace: “I’m referring to a new internal investigation that the Commissioner is setting up. And I’m just wondering in light of the problems in dealing with indiscipline in the force, I’m wondering if, whether Superintendent Pat Murray, who has, is under, is the subject of a protected disclosure. And I’m wondering if he got a job involved in the internal investigation or not. Yes or no.”

Ó Caoláin: “Commissioner I, again, I’ve no advance indication of the questions such as this presenting. I appreciate that there are subliminal issues involved. You’re free to answer as you deem appropriate and, if the matter is inappropriate, in your opinion, I would accept that that is the case and we’ll move on.”

O’Sullivan: Well, chair, thank you. Deputy, what I can tell the committee here today is that commissioner Michael O’Sullivan is appointed to conduct the investigation and to establish the facts.”

Wallace:So you’re saying that Pat Murray is not involved?

Ó Caoláin: ” That, I think, I think, with respect, the Commissioner does not believe that that is appropriate in the context that you’ve raised. And I’m respecting that, deputy Wallace. Is that, that is your position, Commissioner?”

O’Sullivan: “Yes. The assistant commissioner is in charge of the investigation. There is nobody else in charge of the investigation.”

Wallace:So is he not involved in it?

O’Sullivan: “Not…”

Ó Caoláin: “Deputy Wallace, I ask you…”

Wallace: “All right, ok..”

Ó Caoláin:Can we move on please?

Wallace: “Right, I’ll move on. I realise it’s hard to get answers.”

Yesterday: Gasp


Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald

This afternoon.

From 3pm to 5pm.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan will appear before the Policing Authority

The Policing Authority was established on January 1 of this year to “oversee the governance, structures and performance of the Garda Síochána in the policing area“.

According to the agenda of the meeting, Ms O’Sullivan will discuss the recommendations made following the O’Higgins report – which made a series of findings about serious Garda malpractice in the Cavan-Monaghan division.

Readers will recall how, during the O’Higgins’ Commission of Investigation into Sgt Maurice McCabe’s allegations, Colm Smyth, SC, initially told Judge Kevin O’Higgins that – on behalf of Ms O’Sullivan – his instructions were to “challenge the integrity of Sgt McCabe and his motivation”.

This was claimed to be based on a meeting in Mullingar between Sgt McCabe and two gardaí.

Several months later, on the day Commissioner O’Sullivan was due to give evidence – by which time Sgt McCabe had produced a transcript of his meeting in Mullingar with two gardaí – Mr Smyth told Judge O’Higgins: “The position now is that his motive is under attack, credibility is under attack from the Commissioner. But not his integrity.”

Meanwhile, this morning – before Commissioner O’Sullivan’s appearance – the Policing Authority will discuss the matter of Garda appointments.

Readers will note how, in May, the Government approved the appointment of four assistant commissioners.

In addition, it was reported that further senior appointments were in the process of being made – even though, under pending new legislation, the Policing Authority was to take over the responsibility, from the Government, for senior Garda appointments or promotions.

At the time, Francesca Comyn, in the Sunday Business Post, reported:

Nóirín O’Sullivan’s husband, Detective Superintendent Jim McGowan, is among 18 tipped for elevation. Another name of note understood to be on the list is Superintendent Thomas Maguire – the senior officer who, back in 2012, recommended that Sergeant McCabe be the subject of a disciplinary inquiry. The probe related to a computer, seized as evidence in an investigation, which went missing in Garda custody.

Maguire later exonerated McCabe, but the inquiry he conducted was criticised by O’Higgins in his report. He was found to have withheld statements from the whistleblower and initially preferred, on a paper review, the conflicting evidence of another garda over that provided by McCabe.

In July, the Department of Justice announced that it had appointed ten people to the position of Chief Superintendent and 18 to Superintendent – before the new appointments process, under the Policing Authority was introduced.

Mr McGowan and Mr Maguire were among those promoted.

In September, Josephine Feehily, chair of the Policing Authority, told the Oireachtas Justice Committee that it was disappointed that it had not been consulted about the senior garda appointments made earlier.

Yesterday, it was reported that the responsibility for Garda appointments will move from the Government to the Policing Authority from December 31 – just as Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald announced 11 new Garda promotions, comprising of one assistant commissioner, three chief superintendents and seven superintendents.

Watch the Policing Authority meeting live from 3pm here




From top: Clare Daly TD; Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan

This morning.

Further to revelations concerning the treatment of Garda whistleblowers by senior members of the force Clare Daly went on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland earlier to call for the resignation of Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.

Grab a tay

Cathal MacCoille: “The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is considering allegations made by two Gardaí regards what they say is a campaign against them run by senior Gardaí. We asked the Minister to appear on the programme, she wasn’t available. Independent TD Clare Daly met the two gardaí a short time ago. I asked her outside the obvious limitations of speaking outside Dáil privilege what the two Gardaí had said to her about how they were treated.”

Clare Daly: “I suppose it fits in very much with what we’ve been saying, about the huge gulf between public statements of the Commissioner offering support to whistleblowers in the force, and what goes on behind the scenes.Now, we would be aware for some time now that the people making protected disclosures have been subjected to bullying and harassment.

What is so shocking is we’re seeing a lot of what they’ve been saying and what they’ve experienced completely vindicated, in the most shocking terms by one senior officer who admitted that he played a part in that, and in essence what’s been said is that there was a deliberate and organised campaign to annihilate this whistleblower, word came down from the top that he be crushed.

He had to be discredited, inaccurate information was given about him in the most horrific way, text messages were sent to Gardaí, people in the media told “you don’t want to be talking with him now, you know all about him, hint hint”, with some more graphic detail beside it.

Politicians, who I think need to come clean, also got the message about him. What it was, was an attempt to isolate and crush this man, because he had the audacity to speak up against the hierarchy, and I suppose the most serious part of all of this, was that, the claim is, it was done utterly with the knowledge of the former and present Commissioner.

Mr MacCoille: “Now, we have to point out that what the Commissioner has sent, and what I see here in the Examiner, is that she’s not going to comment on any particular protected disclosure, but she again said she welcomes any protected disclosure, and that she has expressed her support for employees with issues and concerns. She has actively said (the aforementioned). You, from what you hear… are you at the point where you don’t accept what she’s saying?”

Ms Daly: “I was at that point long ago. I know for a fact that people that have come forward under the watch of Commissioner O’Sullivan with issues and concerns have had no contact from her at all in relation to their claims. People who in their stations have been doing the bullying have been included on the promotions list, while they are out sick from work, isolated, harassed, on very low pay.

The reality is for those people is the complete polar opposite of what the commissioner has said. And in fairness, the O’Higgins report itself gave evidence of the gulf between statements and reality. Because the O’Higgins Commission showed that despite the statements made, the instruction of the Commissioner’s legal team was very much to attack the character of Maurice McCabe. I don’t accept it all, that’s not the reality.”

Mr MacCoille: “There are two issues that arise here: one is the response of the government, one is the response of the Commissioner. Let’s talk about the commissioner first. What do you think the position of the Commissioner is on what you’ve just said?”

Ms Daly: “Well, once the O’Higgins reported was published, myself and Deputy Mick Wallace called for the Commissioner to go. I think that is even more the case now, because, let’s not for get, the civilian head of the Garda Síochána made a Section 41 complaint to the Minister about the treatment of whistleblowers, we know that’s been on the Minister’s desk.

The main whistleblower that has come forward under the reign of the current commissioner have written four times directly to the Minister about the problems he has faced. What more information does the government need before it should take action?

I think the Commissioner has to go, and if the Government doesn’t deal with this, then the Minister will find herself joining her fairly quickly.”

MacCoille: “But I’ll make the obvious point to you, that you’re accepting the allegations, that you’ve met the whistleblowers, and read the report in today’s Examiner that senior officers mounted a smear campaign with approval. But you seem to be accepting one side of the campaign and not hearing the other, the Commissioner’s side. She says she’s behind whistleblowers, and will support them.”

Daly: “I’ve been hearing that for two-and-a-half years, and if it was just an isolated report that landed out of the blue, there might be some credibility in that approach. But what we have now is an avalanche, we have the treatment of the previous whistleblowers, we have the revelations of O’Higgins, we have the civil head’s Section 41 complaint. It goes on and on and on.

We’ve seen, and met, and know some of the whistleblowers quite well. Their lives have been destroyed, their families have been brought into the loop and targeted in the most vile and shocking of ways.

Y’know, the gas thing is, when I was talking to some of them yesterday, and they were reading the report. Over the years, a lot of them thought, ‘are we being paranoid? Maybe we’re overstating it or exaggerating it?’ Y’know what, they didn’t even know the half of it. While that was comforting it was also really shocking as well, and everybody ought to be worried.

Listen here

Senior Garda Tried To Destroy Source (Michael Clifford, irish Examiner)

Previously: When The Whistle Blows

They Tried To Blame Maurice For Everything