The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan T.D. has today written to the Policing Authority and formally requested it to commence the process for the selection and appointment of a new permanent Garda Commissioner.
This follows a decision by Government earlier today to activate the process under section 9 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended. The new permanent Garda Commissioner will be selected by way of a competition undertaken by the Public Appointments Service at the request of the Authority. The Government will make the appointment on the nomination of the Authority.
The competition will be an open competition with no restrictions as to the nationality of the candidate. Policing experience, while desirable will not be an essential requirement.
Making the announcement the Minister said: “This is the first time that the Garda Commissioner will be selected by way of an international competition under the auspices of the independent Policing Authority. It marks a very significant change in the manner in which this important office will be filled and demonstrates the Government’s continuing commitment to deep reform across the Justice Sector. It builds on the successful transfer of responsibility for the selection of the senior ranks of Assistant Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent to the Authority on 1 January 2017.”
The Minister continued stating: “The overriding concern must be to ensure that the best candidate is selected to lead An Garda Síochána. This requires that the process attract the widest possible field from a broad range of backgrounds. It is for this reason that the Government has agreed that there should be no bar imposed in terms of nationality, or indeed, previous experience of policing. The person who comes through the selection process, be they an internal or external candidate, will be required to implement a major strategic reform agenda to include improving governance and performance management, building managerial capacity and enhancing service delivery while continuing to ensure that the organisation has the capability to secure the State and keep its citizens safe. An open, international competition is the best way to ensure that the right person comes through.”
In the event that the person nominated by the Authority and appointed by Government is not an existing member of An Garda Síochána he or she will, like all entrants to An Garda Síochána, be required to make a solemn declaration under section 16 of the 2005 Act including to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the State.
It is anticipated that the recruitment process will take in the region of 6 months.
In relation to the terms and conditions, the Minister said that the Policing Authority had provided advice in relation to the remuneration package that would be required to attract a candidate of the required calibre. The Government accepted that advice in principle and agreed that the Minister’s Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform would finalise the package prior to the position being advertised in the New Year.
Notes to Editors
- The vacancy arises from Commissioner O’Sullivan retirement on 10 September 2017. In accordance with section 32 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 Deputy Commissioner Ó Cualáin is authorised to exercise all the functions of the Commissioner during the vacancy.
- The statutory process for selection and appointment of the Garda Commissioner is set out in section 9 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended. Section 9 provides that it is for the Government to appoint the Commissioner on the nomination of the Policing Authority. The Authority, subject to the prior written approval of the Government, invites the Public Appointments Service (PAS) to undertake the selection competition. The requirements relating to knowledge, ability and suitability for appointment are to be agreed by the Authority and PAS with the Minister's approval. The Government may in exceptional circumstances and for stated and substantial reasons reject the nomination. While this will be the first time that section 9 is utilised it is the second time that the office will be filled by way of an open competition. Such a competition was first conducted in 2014.