Templemore report should be the end of the road for Commissioner O’Sullivan - Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin members of the Public Accounts Committee, Mary Lou McDonald and David Cullinane, said today that the findings of the report into the handling of the Templemore College irregularities are damning and that Commissioner O’Sullivan can no longer continue in her role.
The deputies said the report reveals catastrophic failures on the part of Garda Management and Commissioner O’Sullivan.
These include; the Commissioner’s letter to the Comptroller and Auditor General on 31st July 2015; the Commissioners’ failure to report to the Minister for Justice irregularities under Section 41 of the Garda Act; the dysfunctional nature of current Garda management; and allegations of fraud regarding Templemore and EU funds.
Deputy McDonald said:
“Commissioner O’Sullivan effectively signed her resignation letter when she wrote to the Comptroller and Auditor General on 31st of July 2015 telling him that there were no irregularities to report in respect of the accounts of An Garda Síochána.
“This was four days after she says she first became aware of the irregularities at Templemore Garda College.
“She took the decision to withhold information regarding those irregularities from the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, despite them being of such a level as to warrant a full internal investigation.
“This was a contravention of her statutory role as an accounting officer.
“Similarly, she failed to inform the Minister of the issues, despite being advised to do so under Section 41 of the 2005 Garda Act.”
Deputy Cullinane added:
“The committee hearings that informed this report, reveal a garda management that is in open conflict with itself, and seems to have coalesced around two broad groups – the civilian element and the garda element.
“There is little in the relationships between these two camps that would instil confidence in the ability of the current garda management to sort out something as fundamental as the dysfunctional culture of An Garda Síochána.
“The allegations of fraud involving EU funds are of the utmost seriousness. These allegations reveal a pattern of concealment and malpractice.”
Deputy McDonald concluded:
“Commissioner O’Sullivan is not the person to lead the reforms within An Garda Síochána. She is not a new broom.
“In addition, the report shows quite clearly that the Commissioner is not the person to be the accounting officer for a public body with an annual budget of over €1.5bn
“Sinn Féin reiterates its call for the Commissioner to go. This report should be the end of the road for her.
“It is now over to An Taoiseach. He must do the right thing, the necessary thing to salvage and rebuild public confidence in An garda Síochána. He must tell Nóirín O’Sullivan it is time to go.”