Reaction to Commissioner's retirement: No accountability for establishment figures, Solidarity

Solidarity The Left Alternative this evening said that the manner in which the Garda Commissioner has been allowed to retire despite the numerous scandals engulfing the Gardai demonstrated there is no accountability for establishment figures.

They said that simply replacing Ms O'Sullivan with another commissioner will not solve the crisis in the Gardai, and said that the police force should be accountable to the communities which they serve and be subject to democratic controls from these communities.

They also re-iterated their calls for a public inquiry into the alleged Garda conspiracy in the Jobstown trials.

Ruth Coppinger TD said: "The end of Noirin O'Sullivan's reign as Commissioner is long overdue. However, the fact that she has chosen to retire rather than being sacked shows how rotten the establishment are.

"Only in the last couple of weeks, Fine Gael and the government have again repeated that they maintained confidence in her.

"They have been prepared to circle the wagons around her despite all the serious crises that have engulfed the Gardai - the McCabe smear campaign, the fake breath tests, and the lies told at the Jobstown trials. It looks like that even O'Sullivan herself realised that she couldn't continue before the government did.

"Rather than sack her they protected her despite all of the scandals and made sure that she remained unaccountable like her predecessor Martin Callinan. When will a senior figure from 'Official Ireland' be held to account for anything?

"Her retirement as Commissioner should allow her to walk away from her role in the McCabe smear campaign, she must be held to account for that. People need to know the role she played."

SINN FEIN 

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has welcomed the news that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan is to retire but suggested the Government’s failure to act has done untold damage to the public’s confidence in An Garda Síochána.

Speaking this evening Ms McDonald said it was clear for some time that Commissioner O’Sullivan’s position was untenable but expressed disappointment that the government had refused to act.

“Despite scandal after scandal the government sat on its hands and refused to act, doing untold damage to the public’s confidence in An Garda Síochána.

“The new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar steadfastly stodgy the old guard and allowed further damage to be inflicted on Garda morale and the public standing of An Garda Síochána.

“Therefore I welcome the Commissioner’s decision to act albeit very belatedly.

“On a personal level I want to wish the commissioner and her family well in the future.

Ms McDonald said that while Commissioner O’Sullivan was now gone the problems in An Garda Síochána remained.

"It is therefore important that Nóirín O’Sullivan is replaced by somebody who is not already tainted by the current scandals engulfing An Garda Síochána.

“Therefore Sinn Féin favours the appointment of somebody from a different jurisdiction.

“Above all garda reform requires a government that is prepared to act to implement the required changes needed restore public confidence.”

FIANNA FAIL

Responding to the resignation of Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan has welcomed the move saying it paves the way for a new chapter for An Garda Síochána.

“I would like to thank Nóirín O’Sullivan for her many years of public service and wish her well in her retirement. Her resignation means there has been some accountability within An Garda Síochána for the 1.5 million false breath tests recorded on the Garda Pulse system", said Deputy O’Callaghan.

“The process to find a new Garda Commissioner presents an opportunity for the Policing Authority and the Government to ensure there is more real and necessary reform within An Garda Siochána.

“We must learn from the mistakes of the past and rebuild confidence within the force itself and in the wider public arena. The new Commissioner must be given the support and resources to ensure that all of the reforms needed can be implemented so that every officer can undertake their duties, and that confidence across all sections of An Garda Siochána is restored”.

GREEN PARTY

The Green Party have welcomed the resignation of the Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan this evening and suggested her retirement offers a real opportunity to bring about wide ranging reform and renewal to the entire force, under new leadership

Speaking in response to the resignation, Green Party Justice Spokesperson, Councillor Roderic O’Gorman said the position of Garda Commissioner has been the source of controversy for some time and the party welcomed her resignation this evening.

“Public confidence in the force has not recovered under her stewardship, and while she deserves credit for kick-starting long overdue reform in the Gardaí, the way she has handled repeated controversies has left a lot to be desired. Her performance at the Public Accounts Committee, in particular, did not inspire confidence in the senior management of An Garda Síochána.

“The Commissioner’s resignation presents the opportunity to restore public confidence in An Garda Síochána. The Policing Authority will now undertake the new process for appointing a Commissioner which is set out in the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015.

"Under this process, it is the Policing Authority which undertakes the recruitment process and recommends the candidate for Garda Commissioner to the Government. A new Commissioner, appointed under this open process, would have a strong mandate to undertake the major reforms that are so clearly needed in An Garda Síochána.”

“The Commission for the Future of Policing, which starts in the next few weeks, now offers a real opportunity to bring about wide ranging reform and renewal to the entire force, under new leadership.”

LABOUR

Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin TD has welcomed the decision of the Garda Commissioner to stand down from her position as in the "the interests of policing and the urgently required reform of An Garda Síochána that we have new leadership in the force".

Mr Howlin said he recognised the decades of service that Commissioner O'Sullivan has given the State but said the new Garda Commissioner will be the first to be appointed by Government on the recommendation of the Policing Authority.

"There clearly must be an international competition with clear criteria set out by the Authority to fulfil the reform agenda.

"I have confidence that the Policing Authority will successfully achieve that task.

"I have always said that this was not a issue of changing one individual but a culture, and the new Commissioner must be resourced to ensure that cultural change comes about.

"Meanwhile it is important that the thousands of men and women of An Garda Síochána continue to be supported in the critically important work they do on behalf of the citizens of our State."

SOCIAL DEMOCRATS

The Garda Commissioner’s departure must be start of wider clear out, The Social Democrats have said tonight.

The party tonight welcomed the announcement by the Garda Commissioner that she is retiring but stressed it must be the first step in robust efforts to rebuild internal morale and public confidence in the force.

The party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said the departure of the Garda Commissioner must be the start of a fundamental clear out at the top of An Garda Síochána.

"It is crucial that this is only the first step in a wider effort to rebuild the force from the ground up. Leadership and accountability are not about securing scalps, but about ensuring that our police force undergoes the radical and transformative changes needed to rebuild morale and ensure public confidence and trust.

“It is unfortunate that it took so long for the Commissioner to realise that she had lost all credibility and authority at the helm of an organisation mired in controversy over financial irregularities at Templemore, the penalty points scandal, the denigration of whistle blowers, and the latest revelations of falsified breath tests on a massive scale.

“It is also very difficult to comprehend how Fine Gael and its government partners saw fit to repeatedly defend the Garda Commissioner and allow her to remain in her post. We now need to see swift moves to tackle the pervasive cultural problems and appalling institutional practices that have brought An Garda Síochána to such a low ebb in recent times.”


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