Chair of Garda review says current management inherited "poison chalice"

Commission on the Future of Policing met for the first time today

Chair of Garda review says current management inherited "poison chalice"

Kathleen O'Toole. Photo: Leah Farrell/

The head of the new Commission on the Future of Policing says current Garda management inherited a 'poison chalice'.

The Commission met for the first time today, and is tasked with carrying out a 'root and branch' review of the force.

Chairperson Kathleen O'Toole said their task "may sound Herculean, [but] it need not be so".

Speaking to the press, Ms O'Toole stressed that this review is not tasked with looking at individual performances - but she did seem to offer some defence of the Garda Commissioner.

"I don't think it would make a difference whether it was Noirín O'Sullivan or someone else," she told reporters. "I think this management team inherited a poison challenge."

She noted that her team will not be looking to 'recreate the wheel', adding: "We will not be approaching this work through the prism of scandal and accusation, but in a strategic way that will allow us to examine the fundamentals of and challenges facing Irish policing." 

Ms O'Toole - currently the Boston Chief of Police - is the former head of the Garda Inspectorate, but many recommendations she made in that role have not been followed through on.

However, she said she would not be here if she did not think the Commission's findings would be implemented.

She hopes rolling recommendations will lead to immediate proposals ahead of their final report.

"There is much to be accomplished over the next 15 months, but together, we will get this done, and we will get this done right," she observed.

Ms O’Toole is joined on the Commission by former Irish Times editor Conor Brady, Noeleen Blackwell of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, and Peter Fahy - a former chief constable in the UK.