It’s Not Just the Garda Commissioner That Has to Go

By Patrick Brogan

Members of the Public Accounts Committee are calling on Nóirín O’Sullivan to depart her post as Garda Commissioner. This does not go nearly far enough. There is a toxic culture in the upper echelons of the Irish police force and O’Sullivan’s resignation will not that change that.

Long before the PAC released its report, there were calls for her head. It’s highly unlikely that she would have remained in her job in any other western European nation given the numerous black ticks against her name.

When she was appointed, a friend of mine described it as a cosmetic change. That’s exactly what it was. Commentators have said she inherited these problems, but this is to ignore the fact she was heavily involved in the culture that helped create these problems in the first place. Also, it is no excuse to say these problems already existed but then got a lot worse on your watch.

The question has to be asked; why is she still in this position? Does she have dirt on somebody? Even now, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are backing her. This would be unbelievable in a normal, functioning society. Clearly, Ireland hasn’t got there yet.

Having a commissioner from outside the Gardaí has been touted as a fix all solution. It isn’t. Firstly, there is the obvious problem, they won’t understand the bread and butter basics of being a rank and file Garda. Secondly, it is another cosmetic change. That arrogant culture has to be rooted out of the Gardaí.  There are plenty of people who could do that from within and would actually be better qualified because they know exactly who to start with. Politicians know nothing about policing. It should be up to rank and file Gardaí and the public to offer the solutions.


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