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03 Jul 2022

Offaly politician calls for 'immediate change' in An Garda Síochana

Garda commissioner says no to calls from Donegal TD and others for her to step aside

Garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan

RENUA Ireland leader and Offaly politician John Leahy has warned that "the ongoing chaos within the Garda is no longer sustainable and change must come immediately."

Mr Leahy said of the ongoing series of scandals within the force: "Enough is enough; we need accountability now rather than at some uncertain point in the future. Either the Garda Commissioner or the minister must go and they must go now. RENUA Ireland does not make this call lightly. But, if concepts such as accountability and duty are to be worth more than a penny candle, resignations are now required."

Mr Leahy dismissed suggestions that the shortness of Ms O’Sullivan’s tenure might protect her. He said: "Nóirín O’Sullivan has been at the heart of the Garda hierarchy for a decade now. If she did not know what was going on, she should have."

"If she did not know the state of chaos her police force was in, this makes her unfit for office. If she did know then she neither acted nor spoke out and this equally makes her unfit for office."

Mr Leahy added: "It will damage policing and the state if the tenure of Commissioners is decided by votes of confidence in the Dáil. We have suffered enough from politicised policing in the past. Ms O’Sullivan has a moral responsibility to step aside to prevent this appalling vista where Sinn Fein could hold the balance of power on the Garda Commissioner's tenure. Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has a political responsibility to persuade her to do so. Should the Justice Minister fail she should resign."

Mr Leahy concluded by noting, "the public increasingly believe the significant sections of the Garda force have gone rogue. Burying these concerns in Inquiries, Commissions and Committee investigations will not work. On this issue the buck must stop rather than slide past the Minister and the Commissioner's desk."

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