Policing Authority issues severe rebuke to Garda management

Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan asked to carry out Garda "culture audit" in the coming weeks

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Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan at Garda headquarters. Picture by: Niall Carson / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Policing Authority last night said it had "deep unease" over the management of an Garda Siochána.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has been asked to carry out a number of tasks, including a culture audit, prior to another public meeting with the authority in the coming weeks.

John Mooney, security Correspondent with the Sunday Times, told Newstalk Breakfast that he believed the focus on the O'Higgins Report was misplaced.

"In some ways, I thought the O'Higgins report was the wrong issue to get fixated on," he said.

"A lot of these allegations date back over 10 to at least eight years, and there have been Guards moved out of that division over that.

"There have actually been internal inquiries into what happened; that has actually addressed many of these issues, long before O'Higgins was even set up."

The Policing Authority, the new body set up to oversee the Garda Síochána’s policing functions, had issued a series of stinging criticisms of the management of gardaí following their meeting, on Thursday, with the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to discuss the O’Higgins report.

In a statement last night, the authority said it would hold two further public meetings with the Commissioner in the coming weeks to discuss the policing failures identified in the inquiry report, and the response by Garda management.

“The recurring deficiencies in policing performance evidenced in the O’Higgins final report are deeply troubling," Policing Authority chairwoman Josephine Feehily said after the meeting.

The authority expressed "serious concern at the impact on victims and at the systemic performance and management failures".

The policing authority wants an urgent response from the Garda Commissioner to the findings of the O'Higgins report into alleged corruption in the force.

It also noted with dismayed that the same performance failures as identified in previous reports into the Garda had reoccurred.

Meanwhile Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor insists she does have confidence in the Garda Commissioner.

"Yes, I do and I mean she will be appearing before the authorities on two other occasions, and I think it would be fair give her a chance to put her case."