Following yesterday’s Government meeting, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern TD, has announced three key appointments in the area of policing.

Garda Commissioner

The Government has decided to extend the term of appointment of the Garda Commissioner, Fachtna Murphy for a further year.  Commissioner Murphy was due to step down in November 2009, but will now serve until the end of 2010.  He has provided strong leadership to the force since his appointment in 2007.  His extended appointment will ensure continuity at a time of significant challenge for the Garda Síochána as it continues to implement its extensive programme of organisational change and modernisation.

Commissioner Murphy has had a distinguished career in An Garda Síochána, rising through the ranks to become in 1996 the first head of the Criminal Assets Bureau.  In December 1999 he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner in charge of Human Resource Management and was subsequently promoted to Deputy Commissioner with responsibility for Garda operations.
He holds qualifications in management and industrial relations.  In addition he has studied in specialist policing academies in the US and the UK.

Chief Inspector of An Garda Síochána Inspectorate 

The Government has also decided to reappoint Ms. Kathleen M. O'Toole as Chief Inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate for a further term of two years when her current term expires in May.

Kathleen O’Toole was appointed as the first Chief Inspector when the Inspectorate was established in 2006.

She has extensive experience at a very senior level in policing and policing policy in the US and in Ireland.  A former Commissioner of the Boston Police Department she also served as Secretary of Public Safety for Massachusetts, as well as a Lieutenant Colonel in the state police.

She served as a member of the Patten Commission which laid the foundations for the reform of policing in Northern Ireland.

As head of the Garda Inspectorate she has made a major contribution to the programme of change and modernisation in An Garda Síochána.  The Inspectorate has made significant recommendations on the efficiency of Garda operations which the Garda Commissioner is implementing.

Chairperson of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission 

The Government has decided to nominate Mr. Dermot Gallagher for appointment by the President as Chairperson of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.  The appointment arises following the untimely death of Judge Kevin Haugh.

Mr. Gallagher recently retired as Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs.  He also previously served as Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach.  He is one of Ireland’s most distinguished and experienced diplomats.  In particular he played a central role in the negotiations which led to the conclusion of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Announcing the Government's decision, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern said: "Fachtna Murphy has provided strong leadership for the Garda Síochána.  I am delighted that he has accepted an extension to his appointment as I know he will continue to be a successful leader of the force in the many challenges it faces, particularly that of gangland crime.

Kathleen O’Toole’s insight into policing in Ireland has been key in her contribution to the programme of change and modernisation in An Garda Síochána.  Her credentials as a police chief, her experience in public administration and her analytical and communication skills have been evident in her first term as head of the Garda Inspectorate.  The Government is very pleased that she has agreed to accept re-appointment.

The post of Chairperson of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is a key position in the institutional framework of policing in Ireland.  In selecting Dermot Gallagher for the post, the Government has chosen someone with a long track record of distinguished service to the State at the highest level not only in the field of Foreign Affairs, but also in the Department of the Taoiseach.  I worked with Dermot during my tenure as Minister for Foreign Affairs and I know at first-hand his very considerable abilities and qualities."

5 February 2009


Fachtna Murphy 

Fachtna Murphy joined An Garda Síochána in 1967.

Career Highlights:



Kathleen M. O'Toole was first appointed as Chief Inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate at its establishment in 2006.  Prior to that she held the position of Boston Police Commissioner.  The Boston Police Department, the oldest municipal policy agency in the United States, consists of nearly 3,000 personnel, with an annual budget of over $250 million.  It is the largest municipal police force in the New England region and the 14th largest in the US.

Ms. O'Toole has spent more than twenty-five years in the public safety arena.  She rose through the ranks of the Boston, Metropolitan, and State Police organisations, including the position as Lieutenant Colonel of Massachusetts State Police from 1992 to 1994.

From 1994 to 1998 she served as Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety and in that capacity was responsible for twenty agencies, more than ten thousand employees and an annual operating budget exceeding $1 billion.

In 1998, Ms. O'Toole was selected to serve on the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland (The Patten Commission) which developed a new framework for policing and security in the North.

In 1999, she chaired the Boston Fire Department Review Commission which proposed sweeping recommendations for reform.

During her career, Ms. O'Toole has also held senior positions at Digital Equipment, Boston College and GPC/O'Neill and Associates.  In addition, she provided services to the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division as an expert witness on "profiling" cases.  She was also President and founder of O'Toole Associates LLC, an international consulting firm with offices in Boston and Dublin.

As Police Commissioner, Kathleen O'Toole was active in the international police community as a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the IACP's Committee on Terrorism, the Police Executive Research Forum and the FBI National Executive Institute Associates.

Kathleen O'Toole is a graduate of Boston College and the New England School of Law.  She was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1982.  She is married with one daughter.


Educated at Presentation Brothers College, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim and at University College Dublin (BA: MA), Mr. Gallagher joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1969 and, in addition to various periods in Dublin, served in his earlier career in San Francisco, at the United Nations in New York, at the Embassy in London, as Deputy Chef de Cabinet at the European Commission in Brussels, and as Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1985 - 1987.

He was Assistant Secretary-General in charge of the Anglo-Irish Division at the Department of Foreign Affairs, 1987 - 1991, with overall responsibility for British-Irish relations, including Northern Ireland policy.

Ambassador to the United States of America, 1991 - 1997.

Second Secretary-General, Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin, 1997 – 2000; with responsibility for British-Irish relations, including Northern Ireland policy and the negotiation and implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Secretary-General, Department of the Taoiseach, 2000 – 2001.

Secretary-General, Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin, July 2001 to January 2009.

Married with two daughters and one son.