Noirín O'Sullivan rejects claims that she misled PAC

Sinn Féin has said the Commissioner "should resign immediately"

Noirín O'Sullivan rejects claims that she misled PAC

Noirin O'Sullivan. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The Garda Commissioner has not ruled out former senior officers - including her predecessors - being questioned about financial irregularities at the training college in Templemore.

Noirín O'Sullivan rejected claims that she in any way misled the Public Accounts Committee yesterday over how she found out about the problem in 2015.

She says an audit must be completed as well as an investigation by an assistant commissioner.

Noirín O'Sullivan says if any criminal wrongdoing is unearthed it will be followed up, and insisted they would "get to the bottom of this."

She added: "Under no circumstances did I mislead the committee. The fact is, after the meeting of the 27th of July irrespective of how long it took, immediate steps were taken to address all of the issues."

There have been fresh calls for Commissioner O'Sullivan to stand aside following yesterday's hearing.

Yesterday the Garda human resources director, John Barrett, openly contradicted her evidence to the PAC.

Ms O'Sullivan said she first became aware of the extent of the issues facing the college in July 2015.

She said she received a report with recommendations from her head of legal affairs on 28th of July, adding that: "Prior to that, on the 27th of July there was a very brief conversation in a room after a meeting in Templemore in which Mr Barrett raised issues around work he was doing."

Mr Barrett interjected to say the "meeting was over two hours" long – adding that he had kept detailed minutes, which included the order in which people entered and left the room.

He said the meeting began at 5.20pm, and he was the first to leave at 7.37pm.

The Commissioner replied that she believed it was not a formal meeting, adding "we were having some tea in the reception room".

Sinn Féin's David Cullinane - a member of the PAC - called on Commissioner O'Sullivan to resign.

Deputy Cullinane said: “The Executive Director of Human Resources Mr Barrett gave very clear and articulate evidence yesterday with notes to back up his views.

“He spectacularly contradicted the commissioner on the nature of the meeting they had in Templemore in July 2015."

He added: “Ms O’Sullivan’s position is not tenable and she should resign immediately.  If she does not then Minister Fitzgerald must intervene.”