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Commissioner O’Sullivan must be replaced if true ‘root and branch’ reform is to take place – Funchion

12 April, 2017 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Speaking this evening during Sinn Féin’s PMB time, Sinn Féin TD for Kilkenny/Carlow Kathleen Funchion said that if the public’s confidence was to be restored in an Garda Síochána, Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan would need to be replaced.

Deputy Funchion said:

“Public confidence in An Garda Síochána will only be further eroded by Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan remaining in her position. This Government needs to stop wasting time on the issue and use the powers provided to it, under the 2005 Garda Síochána Act, to remove her from office and begin a process of rehabilitation of the service immediately. The longer the saga drags on, the more damage is done.

“Commissioner O’Sullivan claimed a ‘collective failure’ caused the drink driving tests controversy and apologised for the ‘grave mistakes and wrongdoing’ which has seen almost one million drink driving tests made up and almost 15,000 people wrongly convicted for road traffic offences.

“Judging by her recent statements, the Commissioner claims to have had no idea who is responsible for collating the figures. It is simply unbelievable to plead complete ignorance on issues of such enormity such as this and of the Maurice McCabe case.

“Gardaí have also openly challenged the Commissioner accusing her of ‘frequently pointing downwards’, with the effect that the ‘blame culture deepens’ within the force. It is clear that there is an obvious lack of confidence not only among the public, but critically, within her own ranks as well.

“Citizens are entitled to a proper standard of policing in which accountability forms the foundation of that service.  Sinn Féin is calling on the Government to remove the Garda Commissioner as it is clearly in the best interests of the service.

“False breathalyser figures, wrongful prosecutions, and allegations of financial impropriety in Garda College Templemore have further chipped away at the public’s confidence in our policing and justice systems. Confidence must be the basis of any relationship between the Government and the Commissioner of an Garda Síochána.  Root and branch recovery of the system can only happen if it is truly that - honest and equal treatment of all those involved from bottom to top.

“This Commissioner has proven time and again by, surrounding herself with allies, and as it has been reported – staffing an internal unit that would liaise with the Charleton inquiry with ‘personal friends and associates’, including retired officers, that her judgement, intentions and transparency are questionable.

“This Government needs to end the charade; remove Commissioner Sullivan and replace her immediately with a representative who is fit for purpose and who the Gardaí themselves have confidence in to make the changes needed.” 

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