Legal bid challenging appointment of new Garda Commissioner dismissed

Legal bid challenging appointment of new Garda Commissioner dismissed
Ciaran MacAirt arriving at the High Court in Dublin. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A legal bid to challenge the appointment of the new Garda Commissioner has fallen at the first hurdle.

An application for a judicial review into the hiring of former Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) deputy chief constable Drew Harris as Garda commissioner was dismissed by a judge in the High Court.

Ciaran MacAirt, whose grandmother Kathleen Irvine was killed during The Troubles, was seeking the go-ahead for a full judicial hearing of his application to block Mr Harris's appointment.

Mr MacAirt had argued Mr Harris's previous roles in the PSNI and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and his associated connections with the UK security and intelligence community, rendered him unsuitable to lead An Garda Síochána.

Justice Denis McDonald, who heard the legal bid on Tuesday, rejected the application on Wednesday morning, insisting Mr MacAirt had not demonstrated that he had an arguable case.

"Nothing in the affidavit suggests that it satisfies the requirements needed for a leave," said the judge.

He added: "The applicant has not shown he has an arguable case."

Ciaran MacAirt (centre) along with solicitors Rosie Kinnear and Niall O Murchu at the High Court today
Ciaran MacAirt (centre) along with solicitors Rosie Kinnear and Niall O Murchu at the High Court today

Mr MacAirt's legal team had argued there was a clear conflict of interest in Mr Harris taking the role as he is bound by the UK's Official Secrets Act in regard to past investigations into Troubles incidents.

In response, the State insisted the application had no merit and was motivated by a personal gripe held by the applicant.

Mr MacAirt's grandmother was one of 15 people killed by loyalists in the bombing of McGurk's Bar in Belfast in 1971.

Mr Harris became the first Garda Commissioner appointed from the North when he was announced as the new commissioner in June.

He is due to officially take up the role on September 3.

PA

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