300 senior officers expected at two-day Garda ‘think-tank’

More than 300 senior Gardaí from across the country are expected to attend a two-day Garda “think-tank” on Thursday and Friday which will examine the future of the Garda in light of recent controversies.

The conference which is entitled “An invitation to a conversation” will discuss the future of force.

Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin is expected to address the conference.

The event which is being run in conjunction with the Kennedy Institute of Conflict is the Garda Commissioners’ annual senior management meeting and for the first time ever the invitation has been extended to superintendents and assistant principal officers as well as other ranks.

Garda Deputy Commissioner John Twomey circulated an email inviting other ranks of the Garda to attend and take part in the “conversation”.

“Dear Colleagues, as previously advised, you are invited to take part in a conversation about what has been happening to our profession in recent times, how we got here, and the toll it had on you personally and professionally.

“There will also be an opportunity to talk about what you have learned from the past and, if you could, how you would re-shape the future of the Garda Síochána,” the email said.

The Irish Times understands that the two-day event will focus on discussion groups led by Peter Cassells of the Edward Kennedy Institute of Conflict Intervention at Maynooth University.

The think-tank comes on foot of an internal Garda investigation into the falsification of breathalyser figures which found that disciplinary action may have to be taken against a number of Gardaí after the force wrongly claimed to have checked an extra 1.5 million drivers over a seven-year period.

“The event is a chance for Gardaí to have a conversation about the future of policing here in Ireland. The top priority is the reflection, discussion, and accountability for inflated breath tests and the various other recent controversies,” a sources said.

The two-day event will also discuss the appointment of the next Garda commissioner as it emerged that it could take two years to fill the post vacated by former commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.