Questions about Nóirín O’Sullivan as Garda boss

Opposition parties have questioned whether Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan is the right person to reform the police service, but have stopped short of calling for her to resign.

Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil raised the issue yesterday after a damning statement from the Policing Authority about the ongoing fallout from the O’Higgins whistle-blower report on Thursday night.

After meeting privately with Ms O’Sullivan on Thursday, the independent Policing Authority’s chair, Josephine Feehily, said the body has deep unease about the handling of the Maurice McCabe saga — including incorrect claims he was motivated by malice.

The authority said the issues are so stark that the Garda Commissioner must meet publicly with the group on June 13 and June 30 to answer ongoing issues about the situation.

The statement has intensified pressure on Ms O’Sullivan, who remains at the centre of a political crisis two weeks after the O’Higgins report was published.

However, while opposition parties said the remarks mean there are now serious questions surrounding Ms O’Sullivan’s future, they stopped short of calling for her to step down from the high-profile position.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Drivetime programme yesterday, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the Garda Commissioner “still has questions to answer”. She said “the jury is still out” on whether Ms O Sullivan should step down, but said it must now be asked whether the most senior garda in the country is the right person to introduce reforms.

Fianna Fáil education spokesman Thomas Byrne said she “obviously has to account for herself” but she is still the commission and the party still supports her.


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