‘Frustration’ at Garda report delays

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan

The Policing Authority has heaped fresh criticism on the Garda commissioner and her management team after it said corrective action to address the financial issues at the Garda College “ought to have commenced much earlier”.

The authority said that Garda governance failures were “very serious” and the report of the Public Accounts Committee into the matter and the Garda internal audits on Templemore had raised matters of “significant concern”.

The comments are among a list of criticisms issued by the authority after a private meeting with senior Garda management which did not include commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, who is on holiday.

In a statement the authority said:

  • It expressed to the Garda team its “intense frustration and impatience” at further delays in the Garda report into the breath test and penalty point scandals;
  • The absence of a timeline for a completed report on the disputed homicide data was “increasingly difficult to understand”;
  • Concerns of GSOC and PAC in relation to getting Garda information suggested “potentially deeper cultural aspects at play”.

The authority said all these matters were “impacting on public confidence in the Garda Síochána, with implications for the rule of law and Garda morale”.

It said the PAC report and the internal audits raised matters of “significant concern” on the management of public funds and governance. It added: “The authority considers that the governance failures are very serious and that remedial action ought to have commenced much earlier.”

The authority said it would discuss with the commissioner the “structures and coherence of senior management”.

It said it secured clarity from gardaí that the review of the ‘Jobstown incident’ set up by the commissioner would cover the evidence of gardaí at the trial.

Paul Murphy TD, one of the defendants found not guilty at the trial, has called for a public inquiry, alleging perjury by Garda witnesses.

PAC had failed to get clarity from the commissioner that the review would include Garda evidence. But the authority said it was reassured by management that the review “would encompass the incident on the day, the investigation, and the evidence”. It welcomed “hugely encouraging” findings of community trust in the recent Garda Public Attitudes Survey.

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