Tribunal hears Department supported Nóirín O'Sullivan after O’Higgins report

The Tribunal heard the Department didn’t want to lose another Garda Commissioner

Tribunal hears Department supported Nóirín O'Sullivan after O’Higgins report

Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Disclosures Tribunal has heard the Department of Justice and the Garda Commissioner had a hand in glove relationship after the publication of the O’Higgins report.

A former senior official told the Tribunal that the Department and Minister supported Nóirín O’Sullivan at the time - and one reason was because they didn’t want to lose another Garda Commissioner.

Ken O’Leary said the O’Higgins report did not call the Commissioner into question in any way, but she could not defend herself from public criticism which called for her to consider her position.

The Tribunal is currently investigating contacts between An Garda Síochana and Government members or State entities, while also examining whether Nóirín O’Sullivan relied on inappropriate grounds to discredit Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission.

This morning, the former Deputy Secretary at the Department of Justice said the O’Higgins report did not call into question in any way the Garda Commissioner and that controversy around her at the time related to leaked transcripts.

Ken O’Leary said the Department was very supportive of Nóirín O’Sullivan and senior officials were worried she may resign, given the way she was being pilloried at the time.

He said the implications of trying to find a new commissioner were serious, so anything they could do to support her, they would – in the public interest.

The Tribunal heard there were about 15 drafts prepared by Nóirín O’Sullivan and Department officials which resulted in a letter to the then Justice Minister.