AGSI say Garda Commissioner "ultimately answerable" for any wrong-doing

AGSI President Antoinette Cunningham would not say if she had confidence in Noirin O'Sullivan

AGSI say Garda Commissioner "ultimately answerable" for any wrong-doing

AGSI President Antoinette Cunningham speaking to the media in Dublin | Image: Rollingnews.ie

AGSI President Antoinette Cunningham says Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan is "ultimately answerable" for the force.

Mid-ranking gardaí are gathering in Killarney for their annual conference on Monday.

Gardaí are set to urge the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to introduce the offence of taking footage of gardaí on duty - as well as calling on the Commissioner O'Sullivan to protect members and their families who are being harassed online.

Commissioner O'Sullivan is to address the conference on Tuesday - while Minister Fitzgerald will not attend.

Two motions of confidence in Commissioner O'Sullivan will also go before the Dáil this week.

Several scandals - including investigations into whistleblowers, wrongful convictions for penalty points and false breathalyser data - are not mentioned in the conference motions.

'Sorry'

But Ms Cunningham told the Pat Kenny Show here on Newstalk: "People are very, very concerned with the issues that have emerged in An Garda Síochána - and rightfully so.

"The wrongful conviction of people in the District Court - in excess of 14,500 wrongly convicted in a court of law - is a fundamental wrong...Everybody in this organisation, I think, has to be sorry".

Asked if she was surprised by the scale of false breathalyser tests, Ms Cunningham said: "I think everybody was surprised when they heard the figure of one million - so again it's squaring that circle of how that one million figure was arrived at, where did this come from, over what period of time."

On the issue of the recent garda scandals, Ms Cunningham said: "We don't condone wrong-doing by any of our members.

"If wrong-doing is found to be a fault of AGSI membership, if and when that that did emerge we would have to deal with that if that were to be the case - but all of that is purely speculative at this point.

"And I think that's a very dangerous road to go down".

"Responsible for every action"

Asked who would take responsibility for such wrong-doing, Ms Cunningham said: "I think the Garda Commissioner's in charge of the garda organisation, so she is the one that is ultimately answerable for what goes on within the body of that organisation.

"Our members are responsible for every action and inaction that they take in their daily duties, and they are well able to be be accountable for that".

Asked if she had confidence in Comissioner O'Sullivan, Ms Cunningham said: "Confidence in the Garda Commissioner is not something that AGSI discuss at our executive meeting".

And on the motion to make it an offence to take footage of a garda on duty, Ms Cunningham said this has nothing to do with water protests.

"It's actually on the back of something completely different which is an invasion into the domestic and private life of members, where their home - pictures of their home - details of their living addresses, details of members of their family were placed on social media".