The next garda commissioner will not come from the ranks of the force, if the people have their way.
That’s according to a recent Millard Brown opinion poll.
Is anyone surprised? In the wake of the various scandals that have damaged the force in the recent past, it’s clear that citizens want new blood at the top of the organisation.
The bottom line is that the handling of the penalty points and garda whistle-blowers controversies have damaged An Garda Siochana.
It’s not only impacted on people’s faith and trust in the organisation, it’s also severely hit morale within the police force itself.
Acting commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan is no doubt doing her best to improve matters and will presumably apply for the job. In fact, given her career, she would be the frontrunner.
But, in my opinion as a former garda, it would be no bad thing for the next commissioner to come from outside.
There is of course a precedent for this. A previous garda commissioner, Daniel Costigan, was appointed from a role in the Department of Labour, in 1952. He served for 13 years.
There is no reason then why another civilian could not take up the task.
An Garda Siochana is at a crossroads. It needs a steady hand at the tiller but it also needs a fresh pair of eyes. Change should be led from the top - and that’s why a non-garda should be appointed as the next commissioner.