New Garda boss must inspire, says recruiter

Former Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan.

Civilian leaders from across the world are being invited to apply for the “extremely challenging” position of Garda commissioner.

The selected candidate will be required to provide “inspirational and ethical leadership” to the organisation.

The successful candidate for the job, which is also open to officers in police forces and security services, could earn up to €250,000 annually and 30 days holidays in a five-year contract.

While policing experienced is “desirable”, it is “not essential”. Applications must be in by April 12.

The Government tasked the Policing Authority to nominate a candidate and it, in turn, asked the Public Appointments Service to carry out the actual recruitment process.

Unlike previously, there does not appear to be a separate process to headhunt or approach high-profile, potential candidates with the Policing Authority telling the Irish Examiner that “all aspects, including the identification and selection of candidates” is a matter for the appointments service.

Asked about the composition of the interview panel, the authority also said this was a matter for the appointments service. Attempts for clarification from that body were unsuccessful.

The commissioner’s position became vacant last September with the shock retirement of Nóirín O’Sullivan.

In a statement, the authority said: “The Policing Authority is keen to ensure that there is a wide field of candidates for this position. Applications are welcomed from candidates of an appropriate calibre from policing, security or civilian backgrounds in Ireland and abroad.

“While policing experience is desirable, it is not essential for this role. What is essential is the appetite and capacity to lead and transform a large complex organisation which delivers one of the most important public services in Ireland.”

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said his department had been working with the authority and the appointments service.

“The role of commissioner, the most senior post in Irish policing, is extremely challenging,” the minister said.

“The over-riding concern of all stakeholders has been to ensure that this process is designed to attract the widest possible pool of high-calibre candidates, so that whoever is selected and nominated by the authority for appointment by Government is tested against a strong field.”

The appointments service documentation says the people of Ireland expect “a modern, professional, accountable and effective police service”.

The documents say “over the past decade statutory and other reviews have highlighted the need for major reform of the organisation, how it is managed and the manner in which policing services are provided”.

It says a transformation programme is underway, with a challenging reform agenda in cultural change, governance, performance management, technology and structural change.

Candidates are informed that there is a strong political commitment to reform. It said staffing is due to increase to 21,000 by 2021, with 15,000 gardaí, 4,000 civilians and 2,000 reserves.

The appointments service also says the Government has established a Policing Commission, to report by this September.

It says the commissioner has to be an “outstanding and inspirational leader and a person of utmost integrity”.

A particular challenge if an outsider is appointed, is that the successful candidate must have the experience and stature to “quickly gain respect and confidence within the organisation”.

The selection process involves: a shortlisting of candidates (based on a CV, a “key achievements form” and personal statement); a competitive preliminary interview; an online questionnaire and one-to-one interview; a “work sample/role play/ media exercise” and other tests and another competitive interview.


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