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Serious questions for Government and O’Sullivan regarding Europol application – Ó Laoghaire

16 August, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin TD and Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said that the news that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan applied for the role of a Director of Europol raises serious questions not only for her, but also for government

Government representatives have refused to state whether or not they were aware of the application.  

The Cork South-Central TD said:

“The Garda commissioner has told us time and again that she is fully committed to the considerable programme of reforms required by an Garda Síochána. 

“The Government for their part have told us time and again that they believe the Commissioner is capable and enjoys their full confidence, in spite of controversy after controversy under her watch and the fact that the Dáil as a whole does not have confidence in her.

“However, it is difficult to reconcile the stated commitment of Commissioner O’Sullivan with an application for such a position. The necessary reforms in an Garda Síochána require significant application and dedication; if Commissioner O’Sullivan has her eye on plum jobs abroad, can it really be credible to say she has the commitment required? Such an application was totally inappropriate, in my view, for the most Senior Garda in the country at this time. 

“It is the view of Sinn Fein, and has been for some time, that the current Commissioner is not the right person to lead the gardaí. Her handling of issues relating to whistleblowers and lack of transparency relating to the Templemore accounts, among other controversies underline that.

“However, in this instance, it is she herself who has undermined her own position and credibility. It is not credible to say she has the commitment and drive to oversee historic reforms, while seeking promotion to positions outside the state, perhaps with government support.

“There is also a need for the government to come clear on the matter. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has failed to confirm or deny whether he was aware of this application, and whether government was supporting it.

“This raises serious questions regarding the Government’s conduct in this affair. The Government, in spite of numerous controversies, has stood squarely behind the commissioner and stated their confidence in her.

“If Government was aware that she was applying for such a position, and was supporting her, that position is no longer tenable. It would mean the Government was complicit in simply trying to pack Nóirín O’Sullivan off to Europe, like some many other public officials involved in controversy before her. They want rid of this problem without losing political face; if they were aware and supported the bid, they have taken the public and the Dáil for fools and all their statements of support and confidence are meaningless.

“Minister Flanagan needs to state clearly what he and his Government knew and whether they supported this application as a matter of urgency.” 

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