Five candidates in running for top Garda role

Five candidates are in the running for the Garda commissioner job, the Irish Examiner understands.

They include two internal candidates – Deputy Commissioner John Twomey and Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy – and, it is thought, three external candidates.

One of the external candidates is believed to be PSNI deputy chief constable Drew Harris.

It is not confirmed who the other external candidates are, but one is thought to be a senior female officer from the New York Police Department.

A number of people are reported to be the fifth candidate, including a former senior Garda currently working for a foreign police agency, while other sources suggest the last candidate is either a Canadian or Scottish police officer.

While it is understood that five candidates remain, the exact number (or their identities) has not been officially confirmed.

The Public Appointments Service – which is conducting the competition on behalf of the Policing Authority – has repeatedly said it would not provide any information about the process until it was completed.

The PAS has conducted two stages so far, including an initial application, including CVs, followed by a first round of interviews with a shortlist of candidates some two weeks ago.

Assistant commissioner Pat Leahy

Deputy Commissioner Twomey, from Dublin, is in charge of Policing and Security and formerly served as assistant commissioner for Dublin and, before that, for Traffic.

Assistant Commissioner Leahy, from Cork, is head of the Dublin Metropolitan Region and is also assistant commissioner for Community Engagement and Public Safety. Previously, he was chief superintendent of the Dublin North Central Division.

It is understood that three, and possibly four, other assistant commissioners also applied for the job and were interviewed in the first round.

Although the PAS has declined to reveal any details about the composition of the interview board, the Irish Examiner understands that there are eight people on it.

They include two members of the Policing Authority – chair Josephine Feehily and another board member.

The board also includes a former secretary general of the Department of Justice.

There are two international police experts on it – one a senior officer from Police Scotland as well as a former chief constable from England. There is also a business expert on the board.

The next stage involves a detailed interview and assessment and, it is thought, some type of role play, as well as psychometric testing.

Under the legislation, the PAS will forward a nomination, along with all their details, to the Authority (bearing in mind two Authority members sit on the PAS interview board).

The Authority will consider the candidate and if the person is "suitable" will nominate him or her to the Government for approval - which the Government must accept save for "stated and substantial" reasons.

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