The Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate Robert Olson has said it is time for the culture of "who you know" inside the Gardaí to change, however he recognises it will not happen overnight.
Olson was speaking after the publication of a report into the force yesterday which found massive failings in how crimes are recorded and classified.
It ran to over 500 pages and also highlights serious systems failures and problems with training.
Olson added the Garda Síochána needs to return to independence, but that will take leadership from the force itself and the Department of Justice.
“It is time for change. It (the gardaí) needs to get back to always doing the right thing regardless and not the politics,” said Olson.
“It is going to take to change that culture, it is going to take real leadership on the part of An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice.”
Speaking after the report's publication, the Minister for Justice said there needs to be "tension" between herself and the incoming Garda Commissioner.
Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she agrees that attitudes must change, and that may mean strained relations with the new commissioner.
"There has to be some tension, I totally agree … this new body, which will have independent responsibility … will hold the commissioner to account in a public way."
Meanwhile, Garda whistleblower John Wilson says acting Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan should withdraw from the running for the permanent role. He says the An Garda Síochána is "broken" and needs a fresh start.
"I am now calling on [her] to withdraw as a candidate," he said.
"[She] has held two very, very senior offices in An Garda Síochána - senior management roles - since 2007. She can in no way - she cannot - detach herself from the gross disfunctionality highlighted in this report."