Commission on Future of Policing asked to deliver interim report within months

The Government has asked the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland to fast-track its recommendations on Garda reform in response to the resignation of the Garda commissioner.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan will today brief his Cabinet colleagues on the departure of Nóirín O’Sullivan.

He will outline the process to find a replacement and his discussions with the Policing Authority chairwoman Josephine Feehily.

The Minister is expected to brief on Ms O’Sullivan’s pension entitlements and the timing of the announcement of her retirement.

Senior Government sources said Mr Flanagan will stress the need for the reform work under way by the Commission on the Future of Policing, chaired by Kathleen O’Toole, during the search for the new commissioner.

It is understood the Minister for Justice has made a direct request to Ms O’Toole to issue an interim report within months to ensure change continues.

“I will be dealing with the facts surrounding the retirement to include timing and pension,” Mr Flanagan told The Irish Times.

“I will be updating colleagues on reform work under way through the Commission on the Future of Policing and assisted by the Police Authority and the Garda Inspectorate. I will be saying reform must continue relentlessly and Government will continue to provide appropriate resources for recruitment.

“I will be saying that the programme of reform must continue while the process of choosing the new commissioner is under way.”

Ms O’Sullivan retired on Sunday following relentless pressure on her position. Senior management held a meeting in Garda headquarters to discuss her departure.

She is entitled to a gratuity of almost €290,000 and an annual pension of €90,000. This includes payments for the eight months she spent as acting Garda commissioner after Martin Callinan stepped down in March 2015. She was appointed Garda commissioner in November that year.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe confirmed he had approved the pension arrangements, saying it was in line with public service protocol.

He said he was made aware at the end of last week that official discussions had taken place in the Department of Justice in relation to her potential retirement.

Mr Donohoe said the decision to afford the commissioner pension credits for the period she was acting commissioner of the force was entirely in accordance with practice for public service managers.

The Policing Authority has now begun the process to replace Ms O’Sullivan and will set the criteria for the position.

Names linked to the role include former CIA director John Brennan, whose parents were from Roscommon, and secretary general at the Department of Public Expenditure Robert Watt.

The role currently attracts a salary of €180,613 but the issue of pay is to be examined as part of the process.

Government sources have not ruled out a salary increase for the role, which they believe should go to a senior civilian.

 

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