herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

Garda chief set to face Dail vote of no confidence

Under-fire garda boss Noirin O’Sullivan. Photo: Collins
Under-fire garda boss Noirin O’Sullivan. Photo: Collins

Garda boss Noirin O'Sullivan faces an unprecedented scenario whereby the Dail could express no confidence in her leadership of the force.

The Cabinet will meet tomorrow to discuss the latest garda crisis. One option being considered is a review similar to the Patten Commission, which led to the establishment of the PSNI in the North.

This would allow space for an examination of the culture within An Garda Siochana and an analysis of garda management's performance.

A review with a short deadline for completion may pacify Fianna Fail and the Independent Alliance, but Sinn Fein will today publish a Dail motion of no confidence in Ms O'Sullivan.

Confidence

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has called on her to "consider her position" in a move that now means a majority of TDs do not have confidence in her.

However, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said: "The reason why we have confidence in her is that we believe she is part of the solution to cleaning up the gardai, not part of the problem."

It was revealed last Thursday that 937,000 breath tests were falsely recorded on the garda's Pulse system.

In a separate scandal, 14,700 wrongful convictions occurred because officers brought people to court rather than issuing them with fixed-charge notices.

Ms O'Sullivan has argued she was the person to put safeguards in place to ensure such incidents cannot happen again.

Fine Gael will today try to reassure members of the Independent Alliance to hold their nerve after junior minister John Halligan told RTE's This Week the Commissioner should "maybe consider stepping aside".

Noirin O’Sullivan was supported by Leo Varadkar
Noirin O’Sullivan was supported by Leo Varadkar

Transport Minister Shane Ross will hold his counsel until after meeting colleagues tomorrow. Labour leader Brendan Howlin has said the "lack of understanding from Government of the seriousness of these matters beggars belief".

"There must be an acceptance of responsibility, and a consequent action of accountability," he said.

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