Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan orders 93 senior gardai to be moved
Around 100 senior gardai are being re-deployed in one of the biggest shake-ups in the force's history.
A total of 93 senior officers, including superintendents and chief superintendents, are either being assigned to new positions or re-deployed.
This includes the official appointment of 34 newly-promoted superintendents and six chief superintendents.
Meanwhile, Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan plans to establish a number of new specialist units while merging some existing ones.
The most controversial aspect of the transformation plan is the decision to reshuffle 12 chief superintendents and another 41 superintendents and is unprecedented since the force was founded.
The officers in charge of specialist units like the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI); National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI); Garda National Drug Unit (GNDU) and the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) have all been switched around.
A number of detective superintendents attached to these units have also been re-assigned without prior warning.
The Commissioner said the sweeping changes were necessary "to develop the new structures, units and approaches required to ensure we are providing the best possible service to the public".
A new specialist squad, the Child Protection, Domestic Violence and Human Exploitation Unit, will be established by March 9 and will be headed up by Chief Supt Padraig Kennedy who will move from NBCI.
The Garda National Drug Unit is to merge with the Organised Crime Unit to beef up intelligence-led operations targeting gangs across the State.
For the first time, the role of divisional Detective Superintendent will be properly defined.
They will be given direct responsibility for crime investigations in their areas.
The main focus of the wide-ranging restructuring programme will be on supervising the implementation of change with a particular emphasis on crime victims and community policing.
They include the setting up of a Strategic Transformation Office to co-ordinate and ensure the implementation of the programme of reform, and a Risk Compliance and Continuous Improvement Office to support regional garda management in improving delivery of local policing services, governance and accountability.
The Commissioner and her senior staff have been working on the broad range of reforms for a number of months.
Ms O'Sullivan said that her aim is to "deliver a victim-centred, community-focused police service".
"By placing superintendents and chief superintendents in these positions now, it will enable them to develop the strategies and structures required to bring about the changes needed and enhance the capabilities in their areas of responsibility."
The changes follow the publication of a damning report by the Garda Inspectorate which revealed that crime was being under recorded and reclassified to less serious offences.
It concluded that there was a chronic lack of resources such as vehicles and that victims were either not taken seriously or kept informed about their cases.