31 apply to policing body for assistant garda commissioner post

Assistant Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan retired this month.
Assistant Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan retired this month.

More than 30 people have applied for the rank of assistant garda commissioner in the first position to be filled by the Policing Authority since it got the power at the beginning of the year.

The authority opened the position up to officers of rank of inspector and above, and yesterday confirmed it had received applications from “all eligible ranks”.

Some 31 people applied for the position and will now undergo a series of stages.

The authority expects the selection process will be completed by the end of March.

There are currently seven assistant commissioners in the organisation.

Under the Employee Control Framework, set by the Department of Public Expenditure, the organisation has sanction for eight assistant commissioners.

The retirement this month of Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan, based at Garda HQ, reduced the number to seven.

In a statement to the Irish Examiner, the authority said the selection process may involve shortlisting of candidates based on information supplied, preliminary interview for shortlisted candidates and a competitive interview including a presentation.

A spokesperson would not say if there were any applications from outside police forces, such as the PSNI.

The pressure on assistant commissioner ranks will continue in the coming months.

Assistant Commissioner Jack Nolan, in charge of the Dublin Region, is due to retire in April and Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney, head of Crime and Security, is expected to leave by June.

The authority has plans to launch competitions for those vacant positions.

There are currently 44 chief superintendents (ECF: 45) and the filling of the three assistant commissioner positions will create knock-on vacancies.

The Policing Authority has responsibility for the promotion of gardaí to the ranks of superintendent, chief superintendent and assistant commissioner.

The authority also conducts the selection process for deputy commissioner and commissioner and nominates a candidate for the Government, which makes the final decision.

The commissioner makes appointments, following an internal system, to the ranks of sergeant and inspector.

The organisation’s largest staff body, the Garda Representative Association, yesterday repeated its criticism of the promotion system within the gardaí.

“Nepotism and ‘pull’ are alive and well, despite the buzzwords of ‘accountability’, ‘transparency’ and ‘independence’ that speckle every statement and paid lip service in every round of competition,” said the editorial in the Garda Review, the journal of the GRA, which represents more than 10,000 rank and file gardaí.

The details come as Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan appears before the Policing Authority today in their first public meeting since the latest allegations in relation to the treatment of Sergeant Maurice McCabe emerged — and now subject to a public inquiry.


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