Four new Assistant Garda Commissioners have been appointed by the Government – just weeks before responsibility for such promotions switches to the new independent Policing Authority.
Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan is understood to have told the Justice Minister that it was “untenable” to wait any longer for the gaps to be filled.
As a result the Cabinet signed off on the elevations of chief superintendents Michael D O’Sullivan, John O’Driscoll, Eugene Corcoran and Anne McMahon.
They will fill existing vacancies in the Dublin Metropolitan Region, the Northern Region, Southern Region and Western Region. It is understood that Mr O’Sullivan is due to retire early next year.
The vacancies arose as a result of a combination of promotions and retirements over the last 14 months.
The successful candidates were selected following an interview process led by Dorothy Scally, chair of the Top Level
Appointments Committee (TLAC).
However, the decision by Cabinet to approve their appointment ahead of responsibility being transferred to the Policing Authority in July will raise some eyebrows.
Sources last night told the Herald that the appointments were seen as “critical” for the Force. They noted that if the appointments were delayed to allow the Policing Authority make the final judgement then the process would have to be restarted and it would be the latter half of the year before the vacancies would be filled.
“The advice from the Garda Commissioner was that such a situation would be untenable,” said a government source.
It is anticipated that two further vacancies at Assistant Commissioner rank will open up next year and be filled by the Policing Authority, the source said.
Mr O’Sullivan was chief superintendent in the Drugs and Organised Crime Division, Mr O’Driscoll was with the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Mr Corcoran worked at the Criminal Assets Bureau and Ms McMahon was based in the Garda College.
The move comes as armed detectives in the Kinahan stronghold of Crumlin and Drimnagh – where key lieutenants including Liam Byrne and Liam Roe live – have been conducting 24/7 patrols over fears of a “spectacular” revenge attack.
A spokesperson for Justice Minister and Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald said that all necessary resources have been afforded to gardai.
“The Tanaiste has assured the Garda Commissioner that all necessary resources will continue to be provided by the Government to enable An Garda Siochana to counteract gangland shootings.
In turn, she has been assured that there has been no let up in the overall resources being applied in this regard,” the spokesperson said.
“There is no question of the Tanaiste or the Department of Justice and Equality issuing instructions to halt overtime, or on any other operational issue.
“The management of Garda operational budgets and deployment of resources is a matter for the Garda Commissioner.”