Dáil motion of no confidence in Garda Commissioner defeated

The Tánaiste said the Sinn Féin motion “would not even meet the low standards of a kangaroo court”

Dáil motion of no confidence in Garda Commissioner defeated

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan speaking about the Garda Siochana Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 at Farmleigh | Image: RollingNews.ie

A Sinn Féin motion of no confidence in the Garda Commissioner has been defeated in the Dáil.

The defeat will come as no surprise after both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael previously indicated they would not support the motion.

The votes tallied this afternoon saw 46 deputies supporting the motion – with 97 voting against it.

Announcing the move yesterday, the Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Jonathan O'Brien said removing Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan from her position was “part of the process" in terms of restoring public confidence in the gardaí.

The motion accused Commissioner O’Sullivan of displaying a “pass the buck” attitude that has made policing “almost toxic” in the eyes of the public.

“There is a huge amount of work which needs to be undertaken by Government, and by An Garda Síochána, in restoring that public confidence,” said Mr O’Brien.

"And we believe that removing the Garda Commissioner is part of that process."

Garda malpractice

The motion was put forward in response to the latest round of controversies engulfing An Garda Síochána.

Officials announced last month that major discrepancies had been discovered in the official garda roadside breath testing figures – with almost one million tests recorded that never occurred.

Separately it emerged that thousands of court summonses were issued for offences that should have been dealt with by way of fixed penalty notice.

Kangaroo court

In her address to the Dáil last night the Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the Sinn Féin motion “would not even meet the low standards of a kangaroo court.”

She said it would be a “major departure” if individual public servants – including guards, nurses or teachers – were to “have their reputations shredded in this House with no opportunity to put their side of the story.”

She said the recent Garda revelations were as “unacceptable as they are disturbing” but accused Sinn Féin of personalising the issue with an attack on the Commissioner, “rather than articulating a vision for the future of policing in Ireland.”

She said it would be “foolish” to deviate from the path of reform already underway within the force – and insisted that the Policing Authority already has the statutory power to remove the Garda Commissioner should it believe it necessary.