Under-pressure Garda commissioner retires

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan, who is to retire after an "unending cycle" of questions over her role
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan, who is to retire after an "unending cycle" of questions over her role

Ireland’s Garda Commissioner is to retire after an “unending cycle” of questions over her role.

Noirin O’Sullivan said she had been trying to rectify the failures and mistakes of the past.

The commissioner faced opposition calls to step aside amid queries over how she dealt with officers inflating the number of breathalyser tests carried out and police whistle-blowers.

She said: “It has become clear, over the last year, that the core of my job is now about responding to an unending cycle of requests, questions, instructions and public hearings involving various agencies including the Public Accounts Committee, the Justice and Equality Committee, the Policing Authority, and various other inquiries, and dealing with inaccurate commentary surrounding all of these matters.

“They are all part of a new, and necessary, system of public accountability.

“But when a commissioner is trying, as I’ve been trying, to implement the deep cultural and structural reform that is necessary to modernise and reform an organisation of 16,000 people and rectify the failures and mistakes of the past, the difficulty is that the vast majority of her time goes, not to implementing the necessary reforms and meeting the obvious policing and security challenges, but to dealing with this unending cycle.”

The commissioner has served 36 years in the force.

She notified Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan on Sunday afternoon.