Alan Kelly: Government 'should remove' Noirín O'Sullivan as Commissioner

The Commissioner has found herself under fresh pressure

Alan Kelly: Government 'should remove' Noirín O'Sullivan as Commissioner

Alan Kelly. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

There have been fresh calls to remove the Garda Commissioner from office amid the ongoing controversy over the Garda College.

Evidence given to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) by John Barrett - Garda Head of Human Resources - suggests the Commissioner was informed of financial irregularities at Templemore College in July 2015.

Noirin O'Sullivan says it was discussed in a brief meeting over a cup of tea, however Mr Barrett's evidence says a two-hour meeting was held.

She has rejected claims that she in any way misled the Public Accounts Committee.

The Commissioner separately received advise that she was legally obliged to inform the Minister of Justice about the issues at Templemore, but she indicated she did not do so until more than a year later.

Commissioner O'Sullivan said: "It was very important that in order for us to be fully informed and to be in a position to fully inform the Minister."

Labour TD and PAC member Alan Kelly says the Commissioner has to go.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Deputy Kelly argued: "The force is in crisis. She's lost the confidence, I believe, of the force. She's lost the confidence of her civilian management team. She's lost the confidence of the Oireachtas.

"I believe she should go," he added. "I believe she failed in her duties, she should have informed the Minister, and I believe, yes, the Government should remove her as Commissioner."

Yesterday, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said: “It is incredible that the Taoiseach has reiterated his confidence in the Garda Commissioner. The Commissioner’s position is untenable."

The Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar says the Government still has confidence in the Garda Commissioner.

However, he has described financial irregularities at Templemore as 'very grave'.

Also speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he observed: "It involves a flagrant misuse of taxpayers money, and of course it involves the Gardaí - and the Gardaí are people who are charged with upholding the law. They have an extra responsibility to obey the law and the spirit of the law.

"It is something that is being examined by the Public Accounts Committee at present. External auditors have been brought in. Of course there is a conflict of evidence between Commissioner O'Sullivan and Mr Barrett - and I think we need to have that teased out before jumping to any further conclusions."