Garda boss was on back foot from the very start

Back foot....departed Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.
Back foot....departed Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

If you’re explaining you’re losing, said Karl Rove, the Republican strategist, who was special adviser to George W Bush – and Nóirín O’Sullivan seemed to spend much of her time as Garda Commissioner explaining. When you look at it, much of the crises and scandals she faced, had their beginnings and middles before she took on the top job. But she had to deal with the conclusions. And as we found out not too many had happy endings.

There was the scandal over the Garda whistleblowers for one.

You might have thought the atrocious treatment meted out to Sergeant Maurice McCabe was bad enough. But then you discover there was more. And there is nothing worse in terms of societal opprobrium than being accused of a sexual offence.

The Charleton Tribunal is trying to get to the bottom of how McCabe’s name got into the public domain. There was certainly incompetence and a cock-up on the part of Tusla officials and social worker professionals (the mind boggles at how uncoordinated they were and clueless about what was happening in the wider world). But there is also some evidence to suggest that something more sinister was at foot.

But until now at least, not one piece of evidence has come to light to link O’Sullivan to any of that.

The scandals over inflating penalty points statistics and over wonky breath test figures is equally egregious. But they date to before her time.

Perhaps her reaction and sense of urgency in responding to the matters left something to be desired but again if anything, she became involved only “after the fact”, as it were.

Perhaps she bears more responsibility for how she reacted to the internal Garda audits and inquiries into the Garda Training College at Templemore which showed up some very peculiar and dysfunctional management at the Tipperary facility.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.