Nóirín O’Sullivan and members of An Garda Síochána appearing before the PAC
The Garda Commissioner has told the Public Accounts Committee that an internal garda review of the Jobstown case will not include the court process.
The matter was raised by Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald, who asked what form the garda review by Assistant Commissioner Barry O’Brien was taking.
Nóirín O’Sullivan said she did not want to talk about the court process and a number of matters remain before the courts, but that Mr O’Brien’s review would examine lessons learned around the circumstances surrounding the events that unfolded at Tallaght.
There were heated exchanges as Ms McDonald accused Ms O’Sullivan of filibustering.
Ms O’Sullivan went on to clarify to the chair, Deputy Seán Fleming that the review would look at the events at Jobstown but would not include the court process.
“He would have no authority to examine the court process. The courts are an independent institution,” Ms O’Sullivan said.
She also said that if there was a concern about the conduct of a garda, the matter should be brought to Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.
She told Mr Fleming that she was not aware of any investigation by GSOC relating to Jobstown.
Earlier Ms O’Sullivan said she did not receive any media training to prepare for appearances before Oireachtas committees, despite media reports.
She said while media reports stated that €140,000 had been spent on such media training, she have never received any preparatory training for appearing before the PAC.
Fianna Fáil deputy Marc McSharry was querying a €92,000 spend on public relations services during a meeting of the committee which is examining the force’s overall annual spending.
Ms O’Sullivan said the money was spent on training for district offices to liaise with local media.
Deputy Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin said he had attended one session on media training.
The committee was also told that there were 73 cases of spending, amounting to €11 million, which did not comply with procurement procedures.
The force’s head of finance, Michael Culhane, said this related to a number of issues including medical treatment for those in custody, and towing of vehicles at road traffic accidents.
Independent Deputy Catherine Connolly raised the storage of exhibits relating to cases which she said was mentioned as a significant financial risk, citing the missing computer in the Fr Molloy case.
Mr Ó Cualáin said it was an “absolute priority” that all divisions would have dedicated storage facilities and exhibit management.
He told the committee that there is now a dedicated IT solution to support the tracking of property.
He said while it was a risk, it was a reducing risk.
The committee also heard that in last round of recruitment, there had been 5,300 applications for full time posts and 2,394 for reserve posts within An Garda Síochána.
Ms O’Sullivan also told the PAC there is nothing sinister about the fact that a final report on inflated breath test figures is not yet available.
She was responding to Sinn Féin deputy David Cullinane, who said it was “incredible that we still don’t have the information” on what happened.
Ms O’Sullivan rejected any accusation that there was anything sinister in the fact that a final report was not yet available and said adequate resources had been dedicated to the investigation.
She said the investigation by Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan was taking place in full openness and transparency.