Updated: 11/09/17 : 06:55:41
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This

national

Garda Commissioner steps down following 'unending cycle' of scrutiny

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan said she is retiring after an "unending cycle" of scrutiny amid efforts to rectify the failures and mistakes of the past.

Ms O'Sullivan issued a statement earlier today announcing that she is stepping down with immediate effect.

According to RTÉ the move comes after several garda controversies, including the falsification of garda breath tests, financial irregularities at the Garda College and the Maurice McCabe affair.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Ms O'Sullivan "has given many years of dedicated service to the State".

"She has overseen many significant developments in often challenging circumstances, and in recent years took on the challenge of reforming the gardaí."

Mr Varadkar said that Ms O'Sullivan said her decision to retire was made in the best interests of An Garda Síochána. However, the commissioner did not actually say that in her statement.

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach clarified that Mr Varadkar was reflecting the sentiment expressed in the commissioner's statement.

"The Government will now consider how best to accelerate the crucial and essential reform programme in the months and years ahead," added Mr Varadkar.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said Ms O'Sullivan faced significant difficulties, many of which had built up over several decades.

Mr Flanagan said that he is appointing Deputy Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin as Acting Commissioner, with effect from midnight tonight.

"In the coming weeks I will consult with the chair of the Policing Authority about a process to identify and appoint a permanent Commissioner to An Garda Síochána," said Mr Flanagan.

"I will brief the Government at the next Cabinet meeting," he added.