Mary Lou McDonald: Noirín O'Sullivan showing ‘detached arrogance’ over series of garda scandals

People are "scratching their heads" over Government's continuing failure to remove garda commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan from office, despite her presiding over a series of scandals which have left her position "untenable", writes political correspondent Fiachra Ó Cionnaith.

Sinn Féin made the claim during a Dáil debate on the crisis during which Taoiseach Enda Kenny also confirmed he will release the 740-page Fennelly report into garda phone tapping within days.

Speaking during the latest leaders questions debate, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald (pictured) repeatedly lashed out at Government over its decision to keep supporting Ms O'Sullivan in the aftermath of the latest scandal to hit the force.

Criticising Mr Kenny over his lack of action on the issue, Ms McDonald said the garda commissioner is showing a "detached arrogance" that has helped to "shatter" public confidence in the gardai.

She said "people are left scratching their heads" over why Ms O'Sullivan remains in position despite being "someone who has messed up so badly".

And, claiming the "failure to act decisively" despite "a litany of catastrophes" is "no longer tenable", she added that the reality is "politics is directing this" as Government fears if Ms O'Sullivan falls it will cause "contagion" and Fianna Fáil will not act as it "fears an election".

Noirín O'Sullivan.

"The garda commissioner's position is untenable. Sin é. That is the position. The commission and restructuring will amount to nothing if the Taoiseach is not prepare to take the first step in accountability and relieve the garda commissioner of her duties," she said.

The Sinn Féin claims were supported by Independents4Change TD Clare Daly, who said it is "an awful pity the Taoiseach's interest in policing reform was not present a number of years ago".

However, despite the criticism Mr Kenny strongly rejected the remarks, saying his Government is doing everything possible to address the crisis.

Stressing the current garda controversy is "bigger than any political party", Mr Kenny said he and others in power are have put in place a wide-ranging garda review in order to "restore pride and trust" in the force.

He said the Government is treating the issue "with the utmost seriousness", and repeated the view that Ms O'Sullivan should be allowed to stay in her role while the review takes place.

Meanwhile, during the same debate Mr Kenny gave further details over the now imminent Fennelly report, which his office received at the weekend.

KEYWORDS: ireland, dail, gardai.


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