Noirin O Sullivan Should have been sacked
The announcement that the Garda Commissioner, Noirin O Sullivan was resigning of her own volition shows the lack of seriousness about accountability among the political elite.
One day before her resignation, Leo Varadkar expressed full confidence in her. Regina Doherty, the Fine Gael Minister, even claimed she was a role model for women. Despite repeated opportunities, Fianna Fail consistently refused to vote for her removal.
Backed by FF and FG
The irony is that both FG and FF claim to be parties of ‘law and order’. But they were willing to allow a Garda Commissioner to hold her position even when it was revealed that 1.5 million breath tests had been faked.
At the very least, O Sullivan should have been suspended from her post after allegations emerged that senior Garda management were involved in a malicious campaign to smear the whistle blower Maurice McCabe, with an allegation of child abuse. Instead she was protected.
If such allegation had been made in any other job, a senior manager would step aside – until the matter had been thoroughly investigated.
Noirin O Sullivan, however, only resigned after taking a long holiday and after a report appeared in the Sunday Business Post that she may be in line for a €300,000 pay off.
The Minister for Justice should immediately come clean and indicate that no severance payments will be made. He should have moved far earlier and simply dismissed the commissioner.
No Rush to find a new Commissioner
The government will, no doubt, rush to make a new appointment to fill O Sullivan shoes. But the real issues will remain unresolved.
The plain facts are that the top management of the Gardai have presided over a regimes of lawlessness and corruption.
Instead of a rhetoric about ‘root and branch reform’ we need to complete re-organisation.
In any society divided by social class, the Garda invariably develop attitudes that lead them to see crime concentrated among the poor – rather than the wealthy.
The only way we can mitigate this tendency is to break down the hierarchical culture within the Garda that suppresses all dissenting voices.
We also need full democratic accountability at local and national level.
Without these changes we will see further scandals of the sort that Noirin O Sullivan presided over.