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Monday 11 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C

'I'm not aware of any campaign to discredit any individual' - Nóirín O'Sullivan

The Garda Commissioner has been speaking out ahead of the launch of a new Garda code of ethics this morning.

3/11/2016. Garda Strike. Garda Commissioner Noirin Leah Farrell Nóirín O'Sullivan Leah Farrell

GARDA COMMISSIONER NÓIRÍN O’Sullivan has said that she is “not aware of any campaign to discredit any individual” in the context of Garda whistleblowers.

A number of protected disclosures by whistleblowers concerning alleged corruption in the force are the subject of a report by former High Court judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill.

The results of that report are due for publication in the near future.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke, O’Sullivan said “we are currently involved in several tribunals, no doubt we will be involved with many in the future also, and as always our objective with any inquiry is to assist in the fullest possible manner with the discovery of the truth”.

Anything that is done is done with the objective of getting the facts.

O’Sullivan was speaking in advance of the launch of a new Garda code of ethics this morning. Asked if she felt the pending report would vindicate her actions, she replied simply that she is “satisfied that the process will establish the truth”.

The Commissioner has been the subject of accusations that she intended to jeopardise the testimony of Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe by conducting a ‘smear’ campaign against him.

“I am constrained in what I can say. The whole concept of speaking up is relatively new to everyone. We’ve learned a lot of lessons.

It takes great courage to speak up. It’s a responsibility and a right that we all have. Those who have spoken up have done a service to An Garda Síochána.

Regarding the now-infamous description of whistleblowers as “disgusting” by O’Sullivan’s predecessor Martin Callinan, the Commissioner replied that he had been taken “out of context”.

‘The action’

O’Sullivan spoke of her experience joining the gardaí as a 20-year-old recruit in 1981, based at Store Street in Dublin.

In her earliest years on the force the Commissioner was a part of the ‘Mockies’ team of undercover gardaí targeting the heroin epidemic then being seen in Dublin’s inner city.

LR DRUGS FIND 758A8741_90500601 Eamonn Farrell Armed gardaí at the scene of a seizure of herbal cannabis worth almost €40 million at Dublin Port last week Eamonn Farrell

“I was a young woman who wanted to be in the middle of the action,” she said.

Initially I thought I would be a vet. My mother had always told me I would have a wonderful pensionable job.

She described early moments of casual sexism that she experienced in her career, including being asked “to make sandwiches for something that was going on”, something she refused to do.

“I’ve been accused of being a feminist and of not being a feminist, so it depends upon your interpretation,” she said.

I would have experienced different people, mostly men, who didn’t think I should be where I was. But I think that was more to do with society at the time than because they didn’t want me.
Equally I came across men and women who identified potential and pushed me to be the very best I could be.

Crime rate

Regarding the current levels of crime being seen in the country, O’Sullivan said “we’re at our lowest levels of crime since 2012, but we’re not getting complacent”.

“We do a lot of unseen covert operations, intelligence-based operations that the public often doesn’t get to about,” she said.

O’Sullivan suggested that “upwards of 18 lives” threatened via the ongoing Hutch-Kinahan feud being seen in Dublin have been saved in the last year.

“A lot of invisible work goes on behind the scenes, and the number of lives saved from our interruptions was significant,” she said.

She acknowledged the difficult time the gardaí had gone through due to “a significant reduction in Garda numbers” in recent years.

“Thankfully the Government has invested significantly in getting us new members,” she said.

150 new gardaí are due to graduate from Templemore training college next week.

Read: Two Aer Lingus staff among three arrested at Dublin Airport over alleged people smuggling

Read: Credit unions want to shake up the mortgage market and they’ve €400m to lend

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