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Dublin: 3°C Monday 1 March 2021

Government no longer has power to promote senior gardaí as Policing Authority takes over

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said from tomorrow the Policing Authority will assume its role to appoint senior gardaí.

Garda recruit Sarah Jennings from Cork meeting Fine Gael Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald and the Garda Commissioner, Noirin O'Sullivan in 2015.
Garda recruit Sarah Jennings from Cork meeting Fine Gael Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald and the Garda Commissioner, Noirin O'Sullivan in 2015.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE POLICING AUTHORITY will take over the responsibility of appointing senior gardaí from tomorrow.

Up until now, all appointments to the rank of assistant garda commissioner, chief superintendent and superintendent were made by government.

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said with the assumption of this responsibility on 1 January, the authority had, within 12 months of its formation, assumed all of its intended functions.

The Policing Authority was established earlier this year and is an independent body set up to oversee the performance of the gardaí.

The Policing Authority 

It is not part of the An Garda Síochána or the Department of Justice and Equality. It does not deal with complaints made by the public – the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is tasked to deal with concerns about the conduct of members of the gardaí.

13/6/2016. The Policing Authority Meetings Chairperson of the Policing Authority Josephine Feehily Source: RollingNews.ie

“The establishment of the Policing Authority represents one of the most significant and important reforms to the justice sector over recent years and the transfer of the appointment function in relation to the senior ranks is a particularly important demonstration of this reform.

“The selection and appointment of candidates to these very senior ranks in An Garda Síochána is an onerous responsibility and I want to wish the Authority every success with this very important work,” said Fitzgerald.

Controversy over garda appointments

After some controversy last month, the government approved a number of promotions to fill vacancies at Assistant Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent in An Garda Síochána.

Fitzgerald was under pressure to fill the vacancies before the Policing Authority assumed responsibility for appointing senior garda roles in the new year.

Enda Kenny told the Dáil the Policing Authority would appoint senior gardaí early next year, but the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan warned that these were “critical” roles which needed to be filled.

There  was reluctance in government to do so, as the independent authority tasked with making appointments, removing the power from both the Garda Commissioner and Cabinet in giving promotions, was due to kick in in January.

In the end, a total of 11 appointments were approved by Cabinet last month, prior to the Policing Authority assuming the power to make appointments.

However, it is understood that the authority were consulted on the appointments.

Read: Government approves promotions for 11 senior gardaí following controversy>

Read: Tánaiste to discuss ‘critical’ garda vacancies with Garda Commissioner>

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