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Garda Commissioner’s position is untenable - Jonathan O’Brien TD

27 March, 2017 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD has said that the position of Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan is untenable.

Commenting as Sinn Féin published a motion of no confidence in the Commissioner, Deputy O’Brien said;

“It is clear public confidence in An Garda Síochána would be further eroded by Nóirín O’Sullivan remaining as Garda Commissioner. Her position has become untenable. The Government should now use the power provided to it, under the 2005 Garda Síochána Act, to remove her from office.

“The Garda Commissioner has failed to adequately explain the cause of the Garda errors which led to the wrongful conviction of 14,700 people for motoring offences and to 937,000 breath tests being wrongly recorded on the Pulse system.

“We are also mindful of the fact that the Charleton Tribunal is investigating serious allegations made in a protected disclosure concerning the actions of the Commissioner.

“The people of this state are entitled to a standard of policing in which accountability is central to the ethos of the service. This must be achieved on the basis of fairness, impartially and objectivity. This standard does not exist presently. The necessary public confidence in Garda management does not exist at this time.

“Sinn Féin is calling on the government to remove the Garda Commissioner as it is clearly in the best interests of an Garda Síochána and the future of policing and justice in this state.”


Full Text of Motion follows:

That Dáil Éireann:


-  everyone is entitled to policing that serves the people, by police services that are accountable, representative of the community and held to the highest professional and ethical standards; 

-  the need to hold the police and criminal justice systems to account on the basis of fairness, impartiality and objectivity;

- that public confidence in policing bodies is contingent on them and the persons who direct their activities being held accountable; 


- The recent press statement made by Noirin O'Sullivan in regard to the recent disclosures that 937,000 breath tests were wrongly recorded on the Pulse system;

- 14,700 wrongful convictions of citizens due to Garda error;

- The failure of the Garda Commissioner to adequately explain the cause of this error and her failure in the statement to provide clarity needed to restore public confidence in An Garda Síochána

Also notes that;

- The Disclosures Tribunal into the treatment of Garda whistleblowers chaired by Mr. Justice Peter Charleton is now underway;

- That the Tribunal has been tasked with investigating serious allegations made in a Protected Disclosure concerning the actions of Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan;

- The potential negative impact on public confidence in An Garda Síochána when the actions of the sitting Garda Commissioner are central to the investigations of the ongoing Tribunal; 

Further notes:

- Section 11 (1) (C) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 stipulates a person who holds the office of Garda Commissioner may be removed from office where the person’s removal from office would, in the Government’s opinion, be in the best interests of the Garda Síochána.

Considers that: 

- The removal from office of the Garda Commissioner would be in the best interests of An Garda Síochána.

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