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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 27 May, 2019

This is what Fianna Fáil's motion about the Garda Commissioner will say

Fianna Fáil has continually said it cannot express confidence in the Commissioner.

FIANNA FÁIL HAS tabled a motion calling on the Policing Authority to “assess the role and capacity” of the Garda Commissioner Noírín O’Sullivan in order to restore public confidence.

In recent weeks, the party has continually said it cannot express confidence in the commissioner after a litany of errors in the road traffic division were revealed.

Last month it was discovered that gardaí miscounted the number of breath tests they carried out over the past five years by almost one million.

It was also revealed that 146,856 summonses to court were wrongly issued to drivers over the past 10 years.

It resulted in the Commissioner being grilled about the phantom breath tests and court appearances in front of an Oireachtas committee, in which she conceded the two controversies highlight ‘at best, incompetence and, at worst, deception’.

1 O Sullivan_90507159 Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan at the Justice and Equality Committee in the Dail. Source:

Since the controversy, the government has announced that an independent expert will carry out a root-and-branch review of An Garda Síochána. The Policing Authority has been tasked with investigating the breath tests and false court summonses.

Increasing pressure

Fianna Fáil’s motion, which will be debated in Dáil next Tuesday, increases the pressure on the Commissioner and on the Policing Authority to take a leading role in the scandal.

While it calls for O’Sullivan’s capacity as Commissioner to be evaluated, it also calls for the government to give extra powers to the Policing Authority so it can discharge its functions.

There is strict legislation dictating that the Garda Commissioner can only be removed by Cabinet under certain circumstances. However, the Policing Authority can formally recommend the removal of the commissioner to the Government.

The authority is an independent body set up to oversee the performance of An Garda Síochána. It is not part of the An Garda Síochána or the Department of Justice and Equality.

N O SULLIVAN Garda commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan Source: Sam Boal

Confidence in the Garda Commissioner 

Both the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald have said they continue to have confidence in O’Sullivan.

Fianna Fáil’s motion “condemns” the latest garda scandal, but notes the parameters in which the Policing Authority can step in and recommend the Commissioner’s removal from office.

It also calls for the following:


Fianna Fáil is also calling for the full implementation of the Garda Inspectorate Reports of 2014 and 2015 within a tight time frame and for civilians to be recruited to senior managerial levels of the gardaí.

A debate on the motion will take place ahead of Sinn Féin’s motion of no confidence in the commissioner which comes before the Dáil on Wednesday.

Read: Questions, unanswered: Scandals are ‘at best, incompetence and, at worst, deception’>

Read: Clare Daly asks Commissioner why she was brought to court over driving offence>

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