The Policing Authority has responsibility for a range of functions relating to the appointment of persons to positions in the Garda Síochána, including:
- Nominating persons for appointment by the Government to the posts of Garda Commissioner and Deputy Garda Commissioner;
- Undertaking selection competitions for appointment of persons to the ranks of Assistant Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent in the Garda Síochána and for making appointments to these ranks;
- Approving the numbers and grades of civilian staff with the consent of the Minister for Justice and equality and the minister for Public Expenditure and reform; and
- Making appointments to senior civilian positions in the Garda Síochána.
1. Nomination to Government for appointment of Garda Commissioner
In June 2018, after an open, international selection process undertaken by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Authority, the Authority nominated a candidate to Government for appointment to the position of Garda Commissioner. The selection process was designed with the objective of attracting the widest possible field of candidates from a broad range of backgrounds to ensure that the successful candidate would be tested against international standards in police leadership.
On 3 September 2018, the Government appointed Drew Harris to the position. Commissioner Harris is a former Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. For further information, read Policing Authority Welcomes Drew Harris
2. Selection and Appointment to the Senior Garda ranks
From 1 January 2017, the functions of the Policing Authority relating to appointments to the ranks of Assistant Garda Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 Regulations 2016 (S.I 641 of 2016) (“the Regulations”) were commenced.
The commencement of these statutory functions was welcomed by the Authority as a significant milestone in the reform and modernisation of policing services in Ireland since it was the first time that appointments to the ranks of the Garda Síochána had been made by an external independent body.
The first competition, for appointment to the rank of Assistant Commissioner, was advertised in late January 2017. The three-stage competition was concluded on 21 March and the first appointment was made on 23 March 2017. The first appointments to the ranks Chief Superintendent and Superintendent and were made in June and July 2017 respectively. In total, 52 appointments were made from the panels put in place from the 2017 competitions.
Selection Competitions were undertaken in 2018 for appointment to the ranks of Chief Superintendent and Superintendent and panels of candidates established from which appointments are made as required. It is intended that the Authority will conduct annual selection competitions for appointment to these ranks.
3. Approval of Numbers and grades of civilian staff
In 2018, the Authority approved 126 positions in 2018.
4. Appointments of Senior Garda Staff
The Authority is also responsible for appointment of candidates for Garda Staff positions at the grades of Principal Officer and above. The Authority publishes details of all appointments on a quarterly basis.
What role does the Policing Authority have in the appointment of the Garda Commissioner?
Section 9 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended) provides that Government appoint the Commissioner on the nomination of the Policing Authority.
This process for appointment was first used in 2018. The Authority, with the prior written approval of government, invited the Public Appointments Service (PAS) to undertake a selection competition for the purpose of making the appointment. The requirements relating to knowledge, ability and suitability for appointment were agreed by the Authority and PAS with the Minister’s approval.
On 26 June 2018, the Minister for Justice announced that the Government appointed Mr. Drew Harris to the position of Garda Commissioner for a period of 5 years.
The Authority has a similar function with regard to the appointment of a person to the rank of Deputy Commissioner.
What role does the Policing Authority have in the appointment of Assistant Commissioners, Chief Superintendents and Superintendents?
Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended) and with effect from 1 January 2017, the Authority has responsibility for the appointment of persons to the ranks of Assistant Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent, having undertaken a selection competition for the purpose.
Competitions for these three ranks were undertaken in 2017 and a panel of candidates for appointment established for each rank. The Authority has appointed 5 Assistant Commissioners, 15 Chief Superintendents and 32 Superintendents from these panels.
In 2018, competitions for the rank of Chief Superintendent and Superintendent were undertaken and panels of candidates are in place for appointment as positions arise.
What role does the Policing Authority have in the appointment of Sergeants and Inspectors?
The Authority plays a very minor role in this area. Under the Garda Síochána (Promotion) (Amendment) Regulation 2016, the Authority may appoint suitably qualified persons to serve on promotion boards for selection competitions for appointment to the ranks of Sergeant and Inspectors.
What role does the Policing Authority have in the appointments of Garda Staff?
Senior Garda staff, at the grade of Principal Officer and above, are appointed by the Authority following appropriate civil service recruitment processes.
The Authority also has certain functions relating to the approval of numbers and grades of civilian staff recruited by the Garda Síochána under Section 19 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended):
- 19. (1) Subject to subsection (2A), the Garda Commissioner may appoint such numbers of persons as civilian staff of the Garda Síochána as may be approved by the Authority with the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance.
- (2) The Garda Commissioner shall determine the grades of civilian staff and the numbers in each grade in the categories of professional, administrative and specialist staff, as may be approved by the Authority with the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance.
I have information on a candidate for promotion to a senior rank in the Garda Síochána. Can I share this information with the Policing Authority?
The Authority does not consider unsolicited third party submissions on candidates for promotions or appointments in the Garda Síochána.