‘Stellar’ leader Josephine Feehily not afraid of courting controversy

Limerick native Josephine Feehily is the chairwoman of the newly established Policing Authority.

Ms Feehily previously held the role of chair of the Revenue Commissioners, a position she was appointed to in 2008, and remained in until the end of 2014.

She was the first woman to hold the position.

During her time in Revenue, she headed a number of projects which saw tax takings increase.

The largest project she oversaw was that of the introduction and roll-out of property tax.

Ms Feehily received criticism in 2013, after letters were sent to homeowners, asking how they planned to pay the tax in 2014.

She appeared before an Oireachtas committee on finance, public expenditure and reform on the matter.

Ms Feehily stated that Revenue began writing to 988,000 property owners on October 21, 2013, but said mistakes were made in the basic way the letter was written.

In 2011, she had been embroiled in another letter-related controversy, when Revenue sent out notices to 115,000 pensioners informing them that they were underpaying their taxes.

“We caused confusion and distress to some people, and I’m sincerely sorry for that,” she said at the time.

Prior to her time in Revenue, the Limerick woman held a number of positions in the Department of Social Welfare and the Pensions Board.

‘Stellar’ leader Josephine Feehily not afraid of courting controversy

Ms Feehily then joined the Revenue Commissioners in 1993, as head of human resources, later rising to the role of assistant secretary.

She was born in Limerick City but moved to Clarina during her childhood.

She currently lives in Co Meath.

At the time of her appointment to the head of the Policing Authority, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, and Fianna Fáil’s former justice spokesman Niall Collins commended her ability to lead the body.

Ms Fitzgerald said Ms Feehily had “stellar performances in other areas” and has “huge management experiences”.

Mr Collins, who is now Fianna Fáil’s jobs spokes-man, said at the time, her appointment would play “a central role in providing the necessary leadership and support to An Garda Síochána at a time of great change for the force”.

However, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties said there would be an “independent deficit” because it was a government appointment.

Given Thursday night’s statement, it would seem she is leaning towards the former.



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