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€250k a year and policing experience 'not essential': Search for new Garda Commissioner begins

Salary can be as high as €250k a year and you get 30 holiday days.

The Interim Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin with former Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.
The Interim Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin with former Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Updated 1.32 pm 

THE POLICING AUTHORITY is said to be searching the “widest possible pool of high calibre candidates” for the €250,000-a-year Garda Commissioner job.

The role was advertised today on publicjobs.ie and states that potential candidates don’t need any policing experience for the top job.

According to the ad, An Garda Síochána is ”growing, reforming and changing”.

“For the right candidate, this is a rare opportunity to lead and develop the Irish police service in the context of the Irish Government’s commitment to a major modernisation programme and increase in the organisation‟s numbers by up to 30% by 2021.

Driving and embedding reform, building managerial capacity and enhancing governance, performance, risk management and accountability, will be priorities for the successful candidate. While experience in a policing role is desirable, it is not essential.

According to the information booklet attached to the job advertisement, An Garda Síochána “enjoys strong community support and has a record of success across the policing and security functions for the State”.

“There is strong political commitment to this reform agenda and the government has committed the provision of support which includes increasing the workforce to 21,000 (15,000 Garda members, 2,000 reserves and 4,000 civilian staff) by 2021. A substantial capital envelope for technology and equipment has also been provided.”

The Policing Authority will nominate the successful candidate and the appointment will be made by the government.

Speaking today after the job was advertised, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said that the jobs is an “extremely challenging” one.

“The overriding concern of all stakeholders has been to ensure that this process is designed to attract the widest possible pool of high calibre candidates, so that whoever is selected and nominated by the authority for appointment by government is tested against a strong field,” the minister said.

The last Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan announced her retirement from the Gardaí in September following months of calls from the opposition for her resignation.

She was asked to resign because of a number of scandals that rocked the force last year, including more revelations relating to the Maurice McCabe saga; the inflated number of breath tests over a number of years; and the alleged misuse of funds at the Garda college in Templemore.

O’Sullivan was appointed as Garda Commissioner in November 2014, after the previous commissioner Martin Callinan stepped down after describing Garda whistleblowers’ allegations as “disgusting”.

Sinn Féin’s justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD said today the next appointment is “potentially one of the most historic” in the history of the force.

“I am conscious that this appointment is happening while the commission on the future of policing process is ongoing, and has not concluded,” Ó Laoghaire said.

A new commissioner would be entering this position potentially blind as to what changes will take place to the force, and to their role in particular, following the commission reporting.

“The better scenario would be a commissioner coming in with knowledge of the radical reforms that they will have to implement.”

Dónall Ó Cualáin has been appointed Acting Garda Commissioner until a replacement for O’Sullivan has been found.

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy

Read: We should have a new Garda Commissioner by summer 2018 >

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