Martin: Time to take politics out of garda management

The Fianna Fáil leader says the right commissioner must be found

Martin: Time to take politics out of garda management

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin speaks to the media on the Plinth at Leinster House in Dublin | Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said politics has to be taken out of An Garda Síochána.

His comments come after former Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan announced her decision to retire last weekend.

She said her job had become an "unending cycle of requests, questions, instructions and public hearings" - insisting this was affecting her ability to reform the force.

It came in the wake of revelations of further false garda breath tests.

The Policing Authority has already started consideration on the process to identify and appoint the next commissioner.

This will be the first time that the new legislative process - Section 9 of the Garda Síocháná Act - will be used.

"The authority will be working with the Public Appointments Service and the Department of Justice and Equality over the coming weeks to agree the precise requirements for the role and to formally initiate the selection competition," it says.

Speaking to On the Record with Chris Donoghue here on Newstalk, Mr Martin says the scope of the competition process could be extended.

"The legislation provides for that (appointment of a new commissioner) and I think we have to be faithful to the legislation.

File photo of Noirin O'Sullivan at a press briefing in Garda Headquarters | Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

"Now if people are worried about whether the legislation is adequate or not, then we're open to considering any issues.

"In other words: has the Policing Authority the full capacity to go international if it so wishes, and to have a broadest competition possible?

"Has it the capacity to headhunt high-quality individuals who could lead the Garda Síochána in an era of change and modernity? So we're willing to cooperate in that regard.

"But I would reiterate... there's an opportunity now to try and take politics out of the day-to-day management of An Garda Síochána, and that's important."

"In advance of headhunting or in advance of the competition, it's important that the Policing Authority - and consult with the Government if it so wishes on this - identifies the skill sets that are required for the next 10 years for the person who's going to lead An Garda Síochána".

On the issue of pay for any new commissioner, Mr Martin says: "Obviously we have to recruit I think the best person for the job - that may be international, that may have implications for the remuneration of the position - but in my view we just have to do it.

"Within reason and with a degree of common sense, but I think we can't limit ourselves either in terms of the head of such a very important post".